Virgin Media To Deliver Wimbledon Broadcasts Live In HDR & Stunning 4K Sharpness
Stephan Jukic – June 28, 2019
Watching any live sportscast at high resolution is obviously never quite as good as the real thing but the closer you can get to simulating the levels of details, the better and Virgin Media TV is helping tennis fans take that simulation just a bit further. The broadcaster will be offering the Wimbledon tennis tournament in full 4K ultra HD resolution with HDR as of Monday, July 1st, 2019 to subscribers in areas where the service is available. Anyone who owns a reasonably modern 4K HDR TV, has the right Virgin Media subscription and one of the company’s Virgin TV V6 boxes is good to go.
Now the funny thing here is that these same broadcasts will in any case be available to anyone with a 4K TV in the UK for “free” (or at no extra charge more correctly, due to the BBC’s regular licensing fees) as long as they have a BBC iPlayer app or the red button in their television remotes. And even the 4K Virgin version of Wimbledon will be delivered through the BBC iPlayer app inside the Virgin TV V6 TV box. Thus at first glance Virgin’s offer seems almost pointless. The difference however is that the regular BBC 4K feed, which is terrestrial, will not come with HDR mastering, and Virgin’s version includes this as a bonus feature to make all of the visuals on the screen that much more vibrant in addition to their ultra-sharp resolution.
Also Read: Our Guide to the best and most versatile streaming 4K media devices & set-top boxes on the market today
For UK/European owners of 4K HDR TVs that really deliver notably good HDR visuals on their screens, the extra HDR aspect to the Wimbledon matches inside the Virgin Media subscription could definitely be worth the cost. Owners of regular 4K TVs or those with minimal HDR might just want to save a few pounds, unless of course they already own a Virgin TV V6 box anyhow.
As for the matches themselves, both the BBC and by extension Virgin (remember that they’re the same matches from the same root source) will be offering 4K resolution to all of Wimbledon 2019’s centre court matches. All broadcast matches will however also be available in HD on regular TV outside the iPlayer app.
The inclusion of HDR in the above is what really makes VirginTV V6 the pioneer here. Major tennis with HDR has never been presented in 4K with HDR before and even Virgin’s biggest rival, Sky Q, will only be offering the same Wimbledon matches during the same dates in 4K resolution alone, with no HDR option. Sky Q’s service generally doesn’t offer HDR, unlike Virgin’s, though the satellite company has promised that HDR will be included as an update to its boxes later in 2019.
Virgin Media TV V6 subscribers can also watch every single Wimbledon match live in HD simply by pressing the red button on their remotes, and full broadcast coverage of the mega tennis event will be available in HD through the BBC’s linear channels as well. Both of these sources are useful for owners of non-4K HDR TVs.
According to Virgin Media Chief Entertainment Officer, David Bouchier:
“It’s been a great summer for tennis fans on our TV platform with Roland Garros in 4K HDR last month and now Wimbledon. Our customers will once more feel like they’re court-side with every smash and volley in the best picture quality possible, all from the comfort of their home. Virgin TV really is the best way to watch the best of this summer’s sport.”
The Wimbledon announcement comes only days after Virgin Media’s other major announcement that its TV V6 4K HDR boxes will be getting Amazon Prime Instant Video “very soon” as a baked in app.