The broadcaster wants to take an 'Internet first' approach and is likely to launch its first 4K and HDR TV shows on to iPlayer.

The BBC's head of technology, Andy King, said that the BBC was working hard to get Ultra HD content to consumers, and that when it did, it would likely launch on BBC iPlayer.

Speaking to Advanced Television at the MIPCOM programming market, King said that the BBC would take an "Internet first" approach to 4K content, as the task of broadcasting 4K shows over digital terrestrial TV was proving "difficult".

King also confirmed the BBC is increasingly producing new programmes in HDR, including the upcoming Planet Earth II series, with HDR increasingly seen as a crucial factor in differentiating 4K content from HD and SD.

King also mentioned that he would like to see serious improvements made in "object based audio', such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, saying: "As an industry we need not to forget the sound stuff!” Hear, hear.

MORE: BBC shows-off holographic TV experiment

More after the break

Broadcast 4K content is currently being delivered by BT Sport Ultra HD and Sky Q, while streaming services including Amazon, Netflix and YouTube also offer Ultra HD video.

LG and the BBC demonstrated 4K HDR broadcasts earlier this year, having originally aimed to be broadcasting 4K standard by 2016

It now looks much more likely we'll be watching 4K iPlayer, but presumably not until some time in 2017.

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


Alsone's picture


Not surprised BBC is finding delivery difficult via Freeview as bandwidth is restricted. However, there really is no excuse for not delivering 4K via Freesat.

To me, this really shows how the BBC and broadcasters in general need to be moving away from Freeview to Freesat as THE broadcast medium for the future.

Broadcasting over the Internet via iPlayer isn't satisfactory for PSB as it turns PSB into Pay TV by virtue of the need to subscribe to fibre networks to have sufficient speed to stream such programming, not forgetting that fibre is expensive and not everyone who watches PSB, can afford internet nevermind fibre services.

Marc Debenham's picture

No surprise

It isn't a surprise that the BBC is having to make compromises - it's budget is being hammered from all corners - even when it gets to be innovative it gets hammered for being a state funded broadcaster. People seem intent in criticising rather than celebrating what it does

idp_1's picture

Start with the basics

It would be nice to have at least 5.1 sound on the existing iPlayer before adopting 4k which most of the population will probably never gain any benefit from.