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BBC to trial Ultra HD and VR during FIFA World Cup

All 29 of BBC One's matches will be available in Ultra HD and HDR via iPlayer

The BBC has announced it will trial both Ultra HD and virtual reality during this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

It will make all matches due to be broadcast on BBC One available on iPlayer in Ultra HD and HDR – however, it has said there will only be a limited number of viewers able to watch each game.

The Ultra HD stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins until the trial is full for that match. The Corporation says audiences will need an Internet connection of at least 40Mbit/s for the full 3840 pixel Ultra HD or 20Mbit per second for 2560 pixel Ultra HD. Footage will be played at 50 frames per second.

The BBC will also employ the Hybrid Log-Gamma version of HDR it invented with Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Virtual reality will be available via a dedicated BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app. The app is due to launch ‘soon’ via Apple, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR. It will be available for free.

Viewers will be taken into their own luxury private box in a Russian stadium. The app will be available on iOS 10 and above, and Android 5 and above.

Matthew Postgate, BBC chief technology and product officer, said: “The BBC has brought major live broadcasting breakthroughs to UK audiences throughout the history of the World Cup. 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 full HD in 2006. Now, with these trials we’re giving audiences yet another taste of the future.”