World Cup 2018: BBC to show FIFA tournament games in Ultra HD

Watching the Russia World Cup 2018 on TV just got a lot more exciting after the BBC announced that it will be streaming the football tournament in Ultra HD and offering a virtual reality experience.

The corporation says it will broadcast all 33 World Cup 2018 matches—which kick off with Russia vs Saudi Arabia on Thursday, 14th June—for free on the BBC Sport Virtual Reality World Cup app.  

Twenty-nine matches will be available in Ultra HD on BBC One as well.

The BBC has announced that it will show World Cup 2018 games in Ultra HD on TV and iPlayer

The BBC has announced that it will show World Cup 2018 games in Ultra HD on TV and iPlayer

The BBC has announced that it will show World Cup 2018 games in Ultra HD on TV and iPlayer

Matthew Postgate, BBC chief technology & product officer, said: ‘From the very first tournament on TV in 1954 and England’s finest hour in 1966, to the first colour World Cup in 1970 and then full HD in 2006, the BBC has brought major live broadcasting breakthroughs to UK audiences throughout the history of the World Cup.

‘Now, with these trials we’re giving audiences yet another taste of the future.’

The BBC will also live-stream the games on the iPlayer in 4K resolution and high dynamic range colour (HDR).

The corporation says this tournament will be first time it has covered a major sporting event in such high quality.

The term 4K refers to Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is when an image has four times as many pixels as the standard 1080p HD picture.

However, for eager World Cup fans there is a catch. The Ultra HD option will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and access will be limited to just ‘tens of thousands of people’.

To be one of the first, viewers must be the first to click on the relevant button after the stream starts.

Not only that, the BBC provides some internet requirements for viewers.

It says: ‘Audiences will need a 40 megabit per second (Mbit/s) internet connection – which is faster than that to which most households have access.

‘Those with slower download speeds may find they are provided a lower-resolution image.’

On the virtual reality front, the BBC says its World Cup VR app is designed to take into account users’ head movements. 

The app will be available on iOS and Android devices as well as Gear VR, Oculus Go and Playstation VR headsets.

One of the VR features will involve users being able to switch locations from a ‘luxury private box’ to behind either of the two goals.

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