You can now relive the fantastic Blue Planet II in glorious 4K on the BBC iPlayer
When you take the plunge and upgrade to 4K, the initial miasma of excitement can wear off pretty quickly when you realise that there’s naff all content that takes advantage of the technology. Okay, Netflix and Amazon Video are definitely getting better at plugging the gaps, but in terms of free stuff, your options are limited to random YouTube clips.
Until now, that is. The BBC has joined the 4K conga line with its first ultra-high definition offering, and it’s hard to think of a better showcase for the medium: Blue Planet 2. Not only will the show be available to stream in 4K, it will also support HDR for a greater dynamic range of colours and shade.
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The entire series will be available to watch in all its 4K glory immediately after the episode goes out on BBC One this Sunday. The BBC has confirmed that over 400 devices are included in the trial, subject to a fast enough internet connection to push the pixels, but there are a number of notable exceptions. Apple TV and Amazon’s latest 4K Fire TV devices don’t provide compatible versions of iPlayer, for example. Likewise, while Sky Q will allow viewers to stream the show in 4K, it is yet to add HDR support for the full experience.
That’s annoying – but don’t despair just yet. If you own a 4K TV, the chances are it may have its own iPlayer app built in, so it’s worth checking to see if your set can stream in 4K by bypassing your usual hardware. And if that fails, it’ll be coming to 4K Blu Ray soon enough.
Hopefully, teething problems aside, this is the start of regular 4K programming available on iPlayer. Live broadcast TV may be lagging behind, with 4K shows still reserved for subscription services, but it’s good to see that the BBC isn’t letting the likes of Netflix and Amazon have a monopoly on the latest technology.