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BBC iPlayer is showing an FA Cup semi-final in 4K HDR this weekend

The BBC has announced that you’ll be able to watch the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Brighton in 4K HDR on iPlayer this weekend. Read on for all the details, including timings, limits and requirements.

The Beeb’s 4K HDR trials have proven immensely popular with iPlayer users, and this announcement will no doubt get hundreds of thousands of football fans salivating over the prospect of viewing Alan Shearer’s face in more detail than what’s really necessary. Hopefully the on-pitch action will be just as engrossing.

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The game itself kicks off at 5.30pm BST on Saturday, April 6, with the build-up starting 20 minutes earlier, at 5.10pm.

“As Ultra HD becomes increasingly popular in the future, the BBC is making sure nobody is left behind,” said Phil Layton, the head of broadcast and connected systems at BBC R&D.

“Our research has already provided a highly effective way for free-to-air broadcasters to put HDR into their Ultra HD programmes, and we’re working on a range of projects to make Ultra HD even better for audiences and the industry.”

To avoid disappointment, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First and foremost, you need a compatible 4K HDR TV. This BBC iPlayer help page has a list of compatible models.

You also need a reliable internet connection. Hard-wired Ethernet is a better bet than Wi-Fi, but either way the BBC recommends at least 20Mbps.

“Audiences will need an Internet connection of at least 40Mbit per second for full 3840 pixel Ultra HD or 20Mbit per second for 2560 pixel Ultra HD,” the BBC says. “Wi-Fi performance can vary greatly, so a wired Internet connection to the TV may provide a more consistent Ultra HD experience. Footage will be played at 50 frames per second.”

Got all that? You can tune in to Man City vs Brighton in 4K HDR either by firing up BBC One pressing the red button, or through the BBC iPlayer app on your TV.

You’ll need to be on the ball though – only “tens of thousands” of people will be able to tune into the BBC’s 4K HDR stream at time. So remotes at the ready, or you might miss out.

You’ll also be able to watch the FA Cup final on May 18 in 4K HDR. More details on that once the semi-finals are out of the way.

“As the UK Internet evolves, the BBC believes this will be the main way people watch Ultra HD programmes in the future. The aim of these trials and other projects at the BBC is to improve the quality of Ultra HD streaming, especially live streaming, to meet future demand. They also help the development and adoption of open technology across the industry, ensuring that Ultra HD TV will be available free-to-air to as many people as possible,” the BBC says.

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“Until now, Ultra HD trials have been a separate, experimental production process. But for the FA Cup, the BBC’s Ultra HD coverage will be the main production from which the HD and SD options will be derived. Working closely with Arena Television, this will help establish the most efficient way of producing programmes in multiple formats.”

Have you tuned into any of the BBC’s past 4K HDR trials? What did you think? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

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