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BBC iPlayer to show Blue Planet II in stunning 4K and HDR

Stream the underwater world in vivid ultra high definition for the first time

BBC iPlayer to show Blue Planet II in stunning 4K and HDR

Following on from its first Ultra High Definition (UHD, or 4K) TV trial conducted in 2016, the BBC now plans to make all seven episodes of Blue Planet II available in UHD and HDR on iPlayer from 10 December.

This will be the first series that the BBC has shown in such high quality.

Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, BBC, said: ‘As the most watched programme of 2017, Blue Planet II has captured the hearts of the nation. The series is a prime example of the world-class work of the BBC NHU documentary makers and I’m delighted that audiences will be able to watch the series in ground-breaking quality on BBC iPlayer.’

As well as showing the documentary series in 4K and using HDR to create a greater contrast, the BBC has also said the UHD stream will have a wider range of colours.

Best 4K TVs – choose a UHD set with the best picture

What do you need to watch Blue Planet II in 4K

Image: BBC

It goes without saying that for the best experience you’re going to need a 4K TV, and for the best possible picture you’ll need one that supports HDR, too.

4K shows four times the number of pixels as Full HD, which means images on screen appear sharper. HDR, or high dynamic range, improves contrast, so blacks will appear darker and whites will look brighter.

The BBC, along with Japanese broadcaster NHK, which recently introduced 8K broadcasts in its native country, created a new type of HDR technology called Hybrid Log-Gamma. The BBC says this will makes colours look more natural and make it easier to bring HDR to more programmes.

The BBC has released a list of compatible TVs, which includes sets from most of the leading manufacturers including, LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. The list doesn’t include some 4K and HDR capable TVs, but a BBC spokesperson told us more compatible TVs would be added as the trial continues. You can find the current list of TVs on the BBC website.

As well as the right TV, you’ll also need a good broadband connection. The extra data being streamed for 4K content means you will need a quicker connection. Netflix, which has a much wider selection of 4K content, recommends at least 25Mpbs for a buffer-free stream.

If you’re worried that your broadband connection isn’t speedy enough, then you can always buy a UHD Blu-ray player. You need one of these to watch 4K Blu-rays. You can use our online speed checker to see how fast your connection is, too.

Time to upgrade? Read our guide to the Best broadband providers.

What other 4K content can you watch on your TV?

Image: BBC

Netflix has the most 4K content, since all of its original programming, including Stranger Things, Narcos and Orange is the New Black can be viewed in 4K.

Amazon Video has several movies that can be streamed in 4K, and some of its original shows can also be viewed in ultra HD. Our guide on How to buy the best internet TV box can help you find the best box to enjoy these online streaming services. And if you’re still not sure which to opt for, our film finder will tell you where you can access the movie you want to see, and save you money.

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