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BT to broadcast the Champions League Final in HDR… but there’s a catch

BT has announced it will broadcast the Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in HDR – but it won’t be 4K HDR.

Instead BT is showing the match in HD HDR. For those not familiar with the imaging technology, HDR for TVs allows for a higher contrast between the light and dark areas of an image, making for a brighter, more vivid image that’s truer to how we’d see colours in real life.

All BT subscribers – including those on EE and Plusnet – and whether they’re watching on the small or large-screen version of the BT Sport app, will be able to benefit from HDR as long as they have a compatible device.

By broadcasting the final in HDR, BT will lead the way by setting a world first for showing a live event on mobile devices in HDR.

Related: Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) – Everything you need to know about broadcast HDR

Customers with a HDR-enabled mobile device will be able to log into BT Sport and see if they can be served the option of watching in the format. Customers without a compatible device will not be able to see that option. Users logging into the big-screen version of the app will see a HDR icon to verify whether their device is compatible.

For those interested in Google casting or streaming via AirPlay 2, a HDR-compatible device (for example Apple TV 4K) is needed to detect the HDR stream.

The Champions League Final is just the beginning for BT’s adventure into HDR, with the promise of up to 70 live events in HDR per season. BT has also said its committed to launching a £5-per-month 4K HDR service later this year.

It’s main competitor in the UK, Sky, also intends to broadcast content in HDR, but missed its 2018 launch. We do know it’s on the way, with rumbles that they’re still fine-tuning the service. Whether they’ll beat BT Sport to the punch remains to be seen.

The large-screen version of the BT Sport app can be found on Samsung TVs; Apple TVs from the 4th generation onwards and Xbox One, One S and One X consoles, with the small-screen app available on selected smartphones and mobile devices.