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BBC head talks VR and UHD broadcasting

Luke Johnson

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Project Morpheus

Virtual reality and 4K have long been tipped as the future of home entertainment, and now the BBC has confirmed it is looking at how to service the emerging technologies.

Discussing the constantly evolving face of the broadcast industry, the BBC’s chief technology officer, Matthew Postgate, has outlined the corporation’s interest in moving away form ‘traditional’ content streams.

“The digital world is changing broadcasting fast and the technology making it all possible is, essentially, the internet,” Postgate wrote in a blog post.

He added: “We will increasingly use the internet to deliver programmes and services to you in the future – whether that’s to the big screen in the living room or the smartphones and tablets scattered over the house.

This opens the door to entirely new forms of content that are much more data-intensive than audio or video – things like Ultra-HD or virtual reality for example.

Despite the BBC’s interest in virtual reality, don’t expect to see the first VR broadcasts anytime soon.

“I'm not saying these technologies will take off overnight, or that they’ll take off at all for that matter, and traditional broadcast technology will continue to be critically important for many years,” Postgate stressed.

“Today we can already film broadcast quality content just by using a smartphone app,” he added.

“Using internet technologies in new ways is another major opportunity for the BBC’s engineering, digital and editorial experts to pave the way.

“That makes me truly excited about the future and my focus right now is on making sure we’re as prepared for that journey as we possibly can be, and that we’re flexible and efficient enough to adapt along the way.”

Related: Best 4K TVs

The BBC is one of a number of broadcast giants to have already started trailing 4K.

Like Sky, the Beeb is attempting to establish the standards and infrastructure needed to transmit such high density broadcasts without delay.

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