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A Lot of People Were Watching the World Cup and Wimbledon in 4K

By Tom Pritchard on at

As a lot of you will be aware, the BBC has been trialling live broadcasts in 4K HDR for a while now. Most notably it promised to stream various World Cup matches and all of Wimbledon with the enhanced picture to further test the capabilities of such high quality live broadcasts. The streams weren't without their hiccups, but that doesn't mean people were any less deterred.

The BBC hasn't released exact figures on how many people were watching and when, probably because the numbers fluctuated throughout each broadcast. But it has old us which days were the most popular and the peak viewing figures on that particular day.

The most popular day was Saturday 7th July, which was Day 6 of Wimbledon and the day England beat Sweden. That was also the last England game to be shown by the BBC, which explains why the 60.3k peak viewing figure isn't beaten by the Croatia game.

In second place was Tuesday the 10th of July, day 8 of Wimbledon and the France/Belgium game s(48.1k), then Sunday 15th July which was final day for the football and men's singles (44.3k). Fourth place was 6th July with Brazil/Belgium and Wimbledon Day 5 (41.6k) followed by 2nd July in fifth place for Belgium/Japan and the very first day of the tennis (37.3k).

They're not huge amazing millions upon millions of people, but that's to be expected. The BBC limited the 4K HDR availability deliberately, so it was never going to beat the regular TV transmissions. But everything worked (mostly) and that's definitely good for the future of UHD TV.

Phil Layton, Head of Broadcast and Connected Systems, BBC R&D, said:

“The trial is an important step forward, showing for the first time that Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) can be delivered live and “free-to-air” over the Internet. It’s part of the BBC’s mission to ensure that future audiences can enjoy the benefits of improved picture quality, and this trial follows on from our work ensuring viewers were not left behind by the move to HDTV, albeit with different technologies.

 “We wanted to demonstrate live end-to-end Ultra HD, but we have always felt that Ultra HD needed to be more than just extra pixels. So we also wanted to demonstrate a wide colour gamut and the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) that the BBC and NHK have standardised. This is essential to improving the visual experience irrespective of the viewer’s screen size.  Finally, we wanted to do this free-to-air, streamed to BBC iPlayer, at a scale never seen before in the UK.”