From July 30, Virgin Media customers will get access to the BT Sport 4K UHD channel, the first Ultra HD channel to arrive on Virgin’s latest V6 set-top box.
Previously, 4K content on the V6 was limited to on-demand content from YouTube and Netflix, as well as limited trials including those from BBC iPlayer (such as its recent World Cup matches).
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BT Sport’s 4K channel concentrates on showing major sporting events in the new resolution, but unfortunately it doesn’t yet offer the content in HDR. Virgin has confirmed that it will be available on channel 531 where it will be broadcast at 50 frames per second, and that it will be transmitted over its own cable broadcast network — meaning it won’t be affected by slow internet speeds like internet streaming can be.
The new channel will be automatically made available to Virgin TV Full House and VIP bundle customers, although you can also bundle BT Sport into a standard Virgin TV subscription for an additional £18.
4K goes live
While 4K has been available for on-demand streaming services for years now, more recently the challenge has been offering it for live sporting events.
BT Sport was one of the first companies to offer it back in 2016, while Sky Q followed later that year, before following its football offering with 4K F1 and Cricket. Finally, iPlayer started offering 4K streams on a trial basis in 2018 starting with the World Cup and then Wimbledon.
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For its part, Virgin has ensured that the V6’s iPlayer app is equipped to handle these 4K trials, but without any sporting licenses of its own it’s reliant on others to make the jump to the new resolution.
This BT Sport announcement is an excellent step towards building up the broadcaster’s 4K portfolio.
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