BBC to deliver 4K ultra HD iPlayer streaming content service with HDR

by on October 27, 2016

Stephan Jukic – October 27, 2016

BBC, a company which has been experimenting with 4K ultra HD content broadcasting for more than a couple years at this point is now working to take an “internet first” approach to giving its viewers 4K content and movies and is thus working on launching its new 4K ultra HD HDR programming to its BBC iPlayer platform, which is an internet streaming catchup television and radio service for UK consumers.

Now, iPlayer is available with plenty of HD video programming and other types of media as well. Furthermore, because of this, the service can be accessed across a wide range of display devices from TVs to tablets to smartphones even. However, if the 4K content that the BBC is working on putting together comes out sooner or later, it will obviously only be available to 4K UHD TVs and possible select 4K PC devices which have the right video compression and content protection codecs built into their CPUs.

That said, the possible release of 4K streaming entertainment to the iPlayer platform will perfectly fulfill the British Broadcasting Corporation’s declared aim of taking an “internet first” approach to 4K video.

Andy King, head of technology at the BBC has stated that the BBC is working hard at getting 4K content to consumers and that the iPlayer is their key platform for achieving this. He also stated to the website Advanced Television that, the BBC was going for their internet-centered content delivery plans due to the fact that 4K UHD broadcasting through terrestrial TV channels is proving “difficult”. In other words, the BBC’s consumer 4K experience will mirror that of other services like BT Sport and Virgin Media UK or Netflix in its basic delivery mechanism for consumers with sufficient broadband connectivity to stream ultra HD video.

On the other hand, the BBC has been working on experimental 4K broadcasting for over two years now based on our own reporting of their efforts and we’re likely not going to see broadcast 4K from the company completely scrapped as an idea quite yet.

The spectacular documentary Planet Earth II has already been released by the BBC in 4K with HDR

The spectacular documentary Planet Earth II has already been released by the BBC in 4K with HDR

King has also confirmed that the BBC is producing an increasing amount of programming with HDR mastering for the latest types of HDR 4K ultra HD TVs and some of their most recent offerings such as the new “Planet Earth II” series are coming out in 4K resolution with HDR as well. This is crucial to a next-generation content viewing experience for viewers who own HDR UHD TVs since high dynamic range in display and video is far more important than 4K resolution itself to delivery of a far more realistic digital viewing experience.

Finally, according to King, it would also be nice to see the BBC work on major improvements to “object-based audio” formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for superior sound realism to accompany superior content display realism.

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