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From TV to mobile, online and radio, there'll be many ways to follow this summer's FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Here's our guide to how you can catch all the action...

This summer will see the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup take place in Russia, with 32 teams looking to lift the 2018 World Cup in July.

Over the couse of a month we'll see Germany defend their crown with the likes of Argentina, Brazil, France and Spain snapping at their heels. And who knows, maybe even England.

As is typical for major sporting events, this year's World Cup TV coverage will be bursting at the seams with technical innovation, from 4K broadcasts to immersive audio, and there are plenty of ways to keep abreast of the action, whether you're at home or out and about.

So if you're looking to catch the action on your TV, watch online or listen to the radio, here's what you can expect from the coverage in Russia 2018.

World Cup TV schedule

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday June 14th at 4pm BST, with Russia hosting Saudi Arabia in Moscow. ITV will show that match as well as the opening ceremony.

England

vs. Tunisia - Monday 18th June, 7pm, BBC

vs. Panama - Sunday 24th June, 1pm, BBC

vs. Belgium - Thursday 28th June, 7pm, ITV

Last 16 - Saturday June 30th at 3pm. ITV has first pick for the knockout stages, which will see the winner of Group C take on the Runner-up from Group D.

Quarter-finals - Friday 6th July, two matches on the BBC, from 3pm; Saturday 7th July, two matches on ITV, from 3pm

Semi-finals - Tuesday 10th July, 7pm, ITV; Wednesday 11th July, 7pm, BBC 

3rd place play-off - Saturday 14th July, 3pm, ITV

Final - Sunday 15th July, 4pm, BBC and ITV

 

Watch the World Cup on TV

If you're catching the action on your sofa in the UK, then you'll have a choice between the BBC and ITV. You could even irritate your friends and family by switching between the two to see if there's a difference in picture quality.

So, expect the coverage in SD and HD as standard. But what about 4K matches? Nothing has been confirmed as yet. It's unlikely ITV will conjure-up any 4K option this late in the day, but following a couple of BBC iPlayer 4K tests, we live in hope. More on that later.

The BBC is promising "24/7 World Cup action" with 33 live matches in HD across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. 

Expect a catch-up and highlights package of the previous day's action on BBC Two, with full match replays of the day's best match after midnight on the same channel. Matches played simutaneously can be accessed through the Red Button on the BBC, while for ITV they'll be shown on ITV 4.

If the BBC adopts its Brazil 2014 template for Russia, you can of course expect a range of programmes that delve into the sights and sound of the host country along with the history of the World Cup to supplement the on-pitch action.

The BBC's presenters and pundits include Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Neville, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Scott, Jurgen Klinsmann, Didier Drogba and Pablo Zabaleta. 

 

MORE: Best TV deals 2018

More after the break

Watch the World Cup in Ultra HD 4K

This will be the first true 4K Ultra HD World Cup. Brazil 2014 had several matches produced in 4K but 2018 will see FIFA team up with Sony to deliver all 64 matches in native 4K HDR.

Each stadium will have 37 cameras shooting footage, eight of which will be outputting in UHD/HDR, the UHD broadcast benefitting from immersive audio.

FIFA haven't confirmed whether it'll be Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, but we assume it's the former. Dolby's object-based surround audio has been the format of choice for broadcasters, with both BT and Sky opting for Atmos integration, as well as its recent use at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

One significant stumbling block to viewing the event in 4K in the UK, is that neither the BBC nor ITV have a 4K channel. That said, we might not need one.

The BBC has made headway in developing its 4K pipeline, successfully trialling Blue Planet II on iPlayer last December. Blue Planet II was broadcasted via the iPlayer in Hybrid Log Gamma HDR, a format developed by the BBC and Japanese state broadcaster NHK.

Following that trial, the BBC ran its first ever live 4K sport broadcast in April 2018, streaming a live rugby league match in Ultra HD and HDR on the iPlayer beta app. This was followed by another 4K iPlayer trial, this time on the right sport - the second-half of the football FA Cup Final was shown in UHD and HLG on iPlayer.

It looks increasingly like the BBC is "stress-testing" a 4K iPlayer service to see if it's ready to screen World Cup matches to potentially large audiences, and it will be that iPlayer is the avenue through which we will get 4K BBC programmes. 

A BBC spokesperson said of the recent trials, "We continue to do various trials in Ultra HD as we explore the next-generation of TV quality. The FA Cup final gave our engineers a chance to test parts of our live production chain over the internet. During testing there was an opportunity to make some of the game available to viewers, allowing us to put the system through its paces with relatively large audiences." We live in hope of an official announcement.

For this and any future 4K iPlayer streams, you will need a compatible 4K TV with the latest iPlayer app.

Elsewhere, NHK has made a firm commitment to developing 8K TV or Super Hi-Vision, as it's also called. Yes, 8K. It was announced in 2015 that NHK and FIFA had plans to produce matches in 8K for this World Cup.

It's gone quiet on that front, but it's anticipated that NHK will use the World Cup as another proving ground for its 8K pipeline. Both FIFA and NHK have prior form in this respect, as the 2015 Women's World Cup had several games produced in 8K.

So who is going to be able to watch the World Cup in 4K? Sky Germany has confirmed 25 matches will be shown in 4K, while Switzerland is also on board, too. Hisense, one of the tournament's key sponsors, has also revealed US customers will be able to watch 4K games via its special app.

But for the UK? We live in hope...

MORE: What is 4K Ultra HD TV? Everything you need to know

Follow the World Cup online

Your best options for watching the World Cup online will be BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport app and the ITV Hub.

As mentioned above, BBC's online content will be on the iPlayer, and potentially in 4K. The 33 live games in HD across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four will be streamed on BBC Sport online and on BBC iPlayer. This includes England's opening two games and a possible quarter-final tie. 

BBC Sport's digital service delivers HD video coverage of all the corporation's matches and you'll find highlights on here as well as on the BBC's YouTube channel.

ITV hasn't yet announced if it will make a move into 4K content either online or on TV before the World Cup and considering how long it took the BBC to firm up their distribution network, it would seem highly unlikely in such a short space of time.

When it comes to catching up on live sports, the iPlayer tends to carry content for at least seven days after its intial transmission and we can't imagine the ITV Hub straying far from that, although that's dependent on broadcast rights.

The iPlayer is ad-free (but don't forget to pay your licence fee), and while the free version of ITV's Hub player carries ads, for £4 you can sign up to ITV Hub+, available across desktop, iOS and connected TVs.

The fee removes ads and lets users download shows through the iOS app (iOS 10 and above). Like Now TV, there's no contract and you can leave whenever you want.

As the official TV sponsor of the tournament, Hisense announced a special app that will stream matches in 4K. However, it sounds like it's a US-only promotion with no announcement of a similar app for UK Hisense owners.

There's FIFATV on YouTube. It has highlights packages, along with interviews, previews and full replays of classic matches from previous World Cups.

But if that doesn't float your boat, Copa90 will offer engagement on the World Cup from a supporter's perspective, with interviews and short productions on fan culture.

MORE: Hybrid Log Gamma explained – the new HDR TV broadcast format

Watch the World Cup on mobile

On mobile, you can expect content on BBC's iPlayer, BBC Sport, ITV's Hub player and YouTube, mirroring the coverage we've mentioned above, as well as plenty of activities across social media.

The BBC Sport app will push alerts (if you choose to opt-in) for goals, half and full-time results, and even starting line-ups.

FIFA will have its own official app where you can keep track of scores, read live blogs, see photos, watch match highlights and exclusive videos.

And for those hoping to keep track of the ins-and-outs of the tournament through podcasts, there should be plenty to sate your interest.

The likes of Football Weekly, The Football Ramble and The Totally Football Show will feature a regular dose of round-ups, previews and reviews, dissecting the tournament's most notable topics and trends.

Listen to the World Cup on radio

On the UK radio side there are two options. You have talkSPORT, whose coverage includes exclusive interviews and live commentary of every match.  On the other side you have BBC's ad-free coverage courtesy of BBC 5 live, which will also cover all the matches. 

MORE: Best internet radios 2018

Get ready…

So, we're 'just' two months away (it'll race by). And we're keeping a beady eye out for a 4K World Cup announcement for those of us in the UK.

Otherwise we still have our tried and trusted methods of following all the action, whether it's on TV, online, on mobile or the good ol' wireless. 

The only question remains, who's going to win it? Step forward Gareth Southgate and England, of course…