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The CTO of BBC Engineering has outlined plans for "more flexible foundations” as the BBC adapts to how we’re consuming TV and radio, and for a future featuring new technology such as 4K Ultra HD and virtual reality.

Matthew Postgate, BBC chief technology officer, said BBC Engineering (formerly BBC Technology) had taken on “a new structure and approach” in order to respond to how the Internet has changed broadcasting - from how programmes are made to how people watch and listen to them.

In a blog post on the BBC website, Postgate said using the Internet to deliver programmes and services would in turn help the corporation drive innovation and explore new forms of content, “things like Ultra-HD or virtual reality”.

Speaking to the Financial Times about the plans and the broadcaster's future, Postgate said the BBC was likely to be broadcasting TV programmes in 4K as standard by 2016.

MORE: 4K Ultra HD TV - everything you need to know

The BBC executive said the corporation’s challenge was “to take advantage of the rapidly changing technology and media landscapes for the benefit of the public”, capitalising on the rise of mobile viewing, on-demand TV and social media. 

More after the break

Using this new technology will in turn allow the BBC to focus on what Postgate says “it has done so expertly throughout its history - innovating new broadcast technologies and transforming the industry”. 

The Olympics would again be seen as a key date for BBC innovation, with super-fast broadband crucial in pushing broadcasting forward.

“The Olympics has always been an event the BBC has innovated around," Postgate said, "[and] what kinds of experiences could we provide in 2020 or 2024 if the nation had universal high-speed broadband and a broadcast infrastructure designed to take advantage of it?"

MORE: 7 of the best 4K TVs

Despite the push to make the BBC "internet first", shown most obviously by the plan to move BBC Three to an online channel by the end of 2015, Postgate said this wouldn't detract from the corporation's TV content. 

"We aren’t talking about the BBC doing more with online content or only putting content and programmes online... [but] to make sure that the BBC’s technologies that underpin everything we do are set up in the best possible way, and take advantage of new internet-based technologies."

After 4K trials around the World Cup last year, a BBC survey recently revealed that 23% of viewers could benefit from 4K broadcasts

MORE: How to watch 4K content on TV and online

See all our 4K TV reviews


tinkywinkydipsylalapo's picture

'Flexible foundations'

Are 'flexible foundations' what you find underpinning a wobbly edifice, or are they a precautionary measure as the BBC's expecting some seismic shifts to shake it up?

(Or, to put it another way, doesn't managementspeak come out with some old blox?)

Big Aura's picture

BBC3 is going online to save

BBC3 is going online to save costs, but still he thinks they can broadcast 4K as standard in 8 to 22 months??!  


muzzer's picture

What a joke

The BBC cannot/does not broadcast the majoritory of it's HD programs in Dolby Digital so what chance of 4k broadcasts.

rob.duff@earlsfieldtp.co.uk's picture

BBC on 4K - Internet Speed

The BBC produce most of its broadcasts in standard def, with new bradcasts in 720p.  They have ignored 1080p, but now state that in 18 months everything will be 4k - Wow!!

I pay for Fibre Optic broadband & only get about 15mb, which is just enough to watch to watch 720p.  1080p pauses occasionally & I have no prospect of downloadinga 4k film.

Most viewers do not even get 15mb.  I hope that the BBC is going to invest in superfast broadband as well.

I will watch the space, but i definately will not be holding my breath.


speculatrix's picture

lets get fullHD and BBC1+1 and BBC2+1?


* few people sit close enough to their TV to perceive 1080p over 720p, 

* there's a shortage of bandwidth/spectrum on DVB-T

* the regional BBC channels are not HD (if you watch BBC1 HD and the local news comes on, you have to switch to SD)

then please can the BBC stop persuing the pointless 4K and concentrate on getting fullHD working properly, add BBC1 +1 and BBC2 +1, and regional programming in HD?