Turns Out People Like Watching Sports In 4K, Reports BBC

By Holly Brockwell on at

The BBC has announced that its trials of 4K quality sports matches were "a hit with audiences," surprising basically no one.

In a blog post summarising its successes of 2018, the Beeb mentions exactly how well the UHD trials went:

"In summer, BBC iPlayer ran two major trials, streaming both the World Cup and Wimbledon in Ultra-High Definition and High Dynamic Range for the first time. Fans were able to stream every BBC One match from the summer’s FIFA World Cup and every centre court match from Wimbledon, enabling them to watch the summer of sport in unprecedented quality. And they proved a hit with audiences, receiving over 1.6 million requests across the trials, with England’s quarter final match against Sweden the most popular UHD programme.

In addition to live UHD, BBC One’s landmark David Attenborough-narrated natural history series Dynasties was made also available to watch on-demand in UHD and HDR, with each episode available to watch after broadcast."

Pretty conclusive, then.

We're hopeful this will mean more 4K and HDR content on iPlayer, because lord knows we need to see Alan Sugar's disappointed facial expressions in micro-detail.

Those of us who watched through the first non-rubbish World Cup for ages will recall that the upgraded quality made a huge difference, although it also put you quite a bit behind people watching the standard quality match, time-wise (in other words, you found out a goal was about to be scored when you heard your neighbours cheering). Often it was as much as 30 seconds before you actually saw said goal.

The BBC has stated it's aware of this issue and says its R&D department is working on a fix for future matches.

The blog post also listed the most-requested shows on iPlayer for 2018, which again contains few surprises:

On an episode basis, meanwhile, Bodyguard and Killing Eve absolutely stormed the charts:

Overall, 3.6 billion programmes were requested on iPlayer last year, which is roughly one for every human female on earth – including Eve, who despite the name is yet to be killed. Maybe next season. [Trusted Reviews]