BBC wins What Hi-Fi? Innovation Award for iPlayer 4K live streaming

4K may have been around for years, but live streaming in the resolution is still a pretty novel practise due to the bandwidth and coding it requires.

However, following the BBC’s on-demand 4K iPlayer trials, the broadcaster found a way to host live 4K HDR streams of the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon tennis on its iPlayer TV app platform this summer. For free and available to anyone who had a 4K TV compatible with the 4K iPlayer TV app. 

Its Ultra HD coverage was reaching tens of thousands for some streams, and received over 1.6m requests in total over that period.

The BBC ‘trial’ wasn’t all smooth sailing, with some mixed reviews noting latency and delay. But the BBC says it’s now fixed that issue for the next trial. And picture quality feedback was almost unanimously positive - it looked superb.

Indeed the live 4K workflow is a learning process, but it’s one that appears to be continually making progress. And that’s why it has picked up a What Hi-Fi? Award this year for its innovation, taking the crown from the last winner, the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Shape wireless music system. 

It’s made us hungry for more trials, and for it to eventually become a fully-realised and constant service.

Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.