BBC goes full 4K with Planet Earth II
The BBC has announced the imminent release of its highly anticipated Planet Earth II nature documentary series in 4K.
It’s been ten years since the launch of the original Planet Earth, a groundbreaking nature documentary that proved to be a worldwide smash hit.
Now the BBC is returning to the series with the six part Planet Earth II. Early adopters and tech fans will be thrilled to hear that it’s been shot in 4K.
The original series remains one of the most visually striking and best-shot pieces of television ever made, so its follow-up will be the perfect showcase for your new UHD TV set.
In addition to a boosted resolution, the BBC announcement reveals that Planet Earth II has been shot using the latest camera stabilisation, remote recording and aerial drone technology. It’s a camera, drone, and TV tech fan’s dream.
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It’s also been confirmed that Sir David Attenborough is returning to narrate the new series.
“I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so,” said Attenborough.
“A decade on from Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, this new series promises to be an extraordinary experience for our audience,” said BBC controller of TV channels and iPlayer Charlotte Moore. “Filmed over three years across the globe with all the very latest technology, the series uncovers stories about the natural world we have simply never been able to witness before.”
Comment: Great news for 4K fans
It’s fantastic news that the BBC is shooting a new series of Planet Earth, but big questions remain. Shooting in 4K doesn’t guarantee that we’ll get to watch it in 4K. The BBC has no 4K broadcast channel at present, so we’re reliant on it streaming in 4K on iPlayer or a subsequent Ultra HD Blu-ray release. But the original series was a landmark moment for Full HD TVs, so 4K fans should be excited about this new series. – Andy Vandervell, Deputy Editor
Q: IS A 4K TV ALL I NEED TO START WATCHING 4K?
A: No. While your 4K TV will use processing to upscale HD and even standard definition pictures to its 4K pixel count, if you want to watch 4K at its best you will also need a native 4K source, such as a 4K video stream or Ultra HD Blu-ray disc.
Q: What broadband speed do you need to stream 4K?
A: Netflix actually says on its website that you need 25Mbps minimum. But we’ve confirmed with Netflix that a consistent 15Mbps is enough. It’s worth bearing in mind that this means you need 15 to 25Mbps of spare bandwidth, so if someone else is using your Wi-Fi, you’ll need to have that amount of bandwidth free after you account for the other person’s usage.
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Read our What is 4K TV? guide for more answers to your questions.