Virgin Media beats BT and Sky with the UK’s first 4K HDR broadcast

Virgin Media has stolen a march on its rivals with the UK’s first 4K HDR broadcast in its coverage of The French Open tennis tournament

While UK broadcasters have been trialling HDR content in the past few years, this marks the first TV broadcast of 4K content in HLG HDR in the UK. The BBC has been experimenting with 4K HDR content, most recently the FA Cup Semis and Finals, but that’s been kept to its iPlayer on-demand/catch-up service.

Sky’s implementation of HLG HDR for its Q service was expected last year, but was pushed back to some time in 2019. BT is set to broadcast the Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in HD HDR on compatible devices, with 4K HDR broadcasts expected before the beginning of the 2019/2020 Premier League season.

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

To watch Virgin’s coverage you need to be a Virgin Media customer with the V6 set-top box and a 4K HDR TV. Access is granted by pressing the red button on Eurosport 1HD (channel 521), Eurosport 2HD (channel 522) or Virgin TV Ultra HD (channel 255 or 999) to see the tournament in all its 4K HDR glory.

“We are upping our game once more this summer by broadcasting one of the most prestigious tennis competitions in the highest picture quality currently available,” noted David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media. “Our customers will be able to get even closer to the action with HDR technology on our V6 box bringing the action right into the homes of our customers.”

The 4K HDR coverage of the tournament is available every day until the tournament ends on June 9th. The French Open can also be viewed in standard 4K. Over in France, broadcaster PSB France Télévisions is streaming more than 100 hours of the tournament live in 8K over a 5G connection.

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