How to Watch the World Cup in 4K HDR: Ultimate guide to live streaming the World Cup
You might have heard about the World Cup. Apparently, it has a lot of people excited…and you should be too if you’ve got a 4K HDR-ready TV, because your football viewing experience is now better than ever. Here’s everything you need to know about watching the World Cup 2018 in 4K, including details of how to watch BBC iPlayer 4K World Cup live streams.
We’re here to help you make the most of watching the World Cup in 4K – here’s what you need to know about catching the action in the best possible quality.
If you’ve got a shiny new 4K and HDR TV, we’ll talk you through how to make use of experimental high-quality footage. If not, we’ve got some settings tips so you can make the most of your existing telly as well as World Cup 4K live streaming advice.
Related: Best World Cup TVs
How to Watch the World Cup in 4K HDR: Everything you need to know
So, the FIFA World Cup 2018 is being broadcast across the BBC and ITV, who are sharing the rights. Most people can easily access the regular and HD broadcasts on their TVs.
But the BBC is also experimenting with 4K and HDR via streaming, on its iPlayer app, for 29 of the matches. There’s a catch though. There are various hoops to jump through.
First, you’ll need a compatible 4K HDR TV. The BBC iPlayer help pages will show you all the right models.
Then you’ll need a good enough internet connection. Hard-wired Ethernet is better than Wi-Fi, but either way the BBC recommends at least 40mbps.
Got all that? Then you’ll need to go into the iPlayer app as the coverage of the match is starting. You should see a promo box labelled ‘UHD’. Click on that.
You’ll need to be on the ball though – the 4K HDR stream is only available to “tens of thousands” of users at at time. So remotes at the ready, or you might miss out.
According to the BBC, England’s opening game against Tunisia was the most-watched TV show of the year so far, attracting a peak television audience of 18.3 million. Three million of those watched the game through iPlayer and BBC Sport − the highest-ever live audience for an online BBC programme.
Pats on the back all-round for being so modern. Off the back of this success, the BBC’s director of education and radio, James Purnell, says the corporation is going to start targeting young people, who favour streaming and podcasts over radio.
Sign up for the newsletter
Get news, competitions and special offers direct to your inbox
Related: Amazon Prime Day 2018
How to watch BBC iPlayer 4K HDR World Cup live streams
Early feedback from viewers on the BBC’s 4K iPlayer World Cup live streams has been decidedly mixed.
While many iPlayer users are thoroughly enjoying the BBC’s 4K HDR coverage, others have reported issues, with the most common complaints being that the picture looks too dark, sound tends to cut in and out, video sometimes lags behind the audio, and constant buffering – even on speedy connections.
Another frequent bug bear is that iPlayer streams lag behind live TV coverage, so viewers risk ‘spoilers’.
Here’s a sampling of the issues being bemoaned on everyone’s favourite Agony Aunt platform, Twitter.
Related: What is VAR at the World Cup?
With this being a trial in its early stages, bugs are to expected, and the Beeb is aware of them.
“Thousands of people are taking part in and enjoying our stunning Ultra HD and HDR trial on BBC iPlayer,” a BBC spokesperson told Trusted Reviews. “One of its aims is to gather feedback so we can improve the experience for audiences, which we’re already doing based on what we’ve seen so far.”
A Trusted Reviews poll of more than 600 readers found that 55% of people who have tuned into the World Cup in 4K HDR via BBC iPlayer have experienced streaming issues.
However, the longer our poll has been up, the smaller the gap has become, which suggests that the BBC’s 4K HDR coverage is improving.
The BBC iPlayer app is available on nearly all modern media devices, though whether or not you can watch a 4K World Cup live stream is another matter. Most recently, iPlayer got 4K support on the PS4, though there’s still no HDR option on the console. There’s also no word yet on whether or not the same update will come to the iPlayer app on the Xbox One.
Want to check out what iPlayer has to offer this World Cup? Just head over to the BBC’s iPlayer downloads page and navigate to your chosen mobile OS, or access iPlayer via the web here. Those of you with set-top boxes and consoles should be able to find it easily by searching your device’s app store.
Related: Best TV
How to Watch the World Cup in 4K: The best TV settings for the World Cup
What are the best settings for watching football? This is a lot more straightforward than you might think. Most TV manufacturers’ factory presets are actually pretty good these days, so there’s very little that you’d have to do.
The most effective thing you can do is to turn on motion processing. Different manufacturers use different names for it. Sony calls it MotionFlow, LG calls it TruMotion. This makes the picture move more smoothly and reduces judder. That’s great for sports, but remember to turn it off for normal viewing, or else your films will have the glossy look of a soap opera.
Elsewhere, it’s worth looking at the picture mode. Standard mode or Cinema mode (also known as Movie) tend to be the most accurate for colours. The one thing you shouldn’t do is use the TV on Dynamic or Sports mode, even if that sounds counterintuitive.
Sports mode does ramp up the brightness, contrast and sharpness, but it tends to overdo things. The grass often appears neon green and skin tones are exaggerated to the point that some people look a little ill. If you want a little extra punch, it’s better to manually nudge the brightness and contrast a little.
Related: Best TV deals
Share your World Cup 2018 predictions with us @TrustedReviews.