BBC dilemma on Ultra-HD funding

Andy Quested, the BBC’s head of technology for HD and Ultra-HD, says that the publicly-funded broadcaster cannot use licence-fee payer’s cash to fund 4K/Ultra-HD programming.

Quested, quoted by 3D Focus, says that only programming funded by non-licence fee cash is being made. “Only programmes funded outside the licence fee are being produced in UHD.  We cannot use licence fee money for new services that licence fee payers cannot access and even then we usually need to go through the BBC Trust procedures which may include a public value test.”

Quested also confirmed that the HEVC codec will be used to distribute Ultra HD using the ITU-R BT.2020 and several (almost ready to publish) SMPTE standards.  Quested, who also co-heads the UK UHD forum with BSkyB’s Chris Johns, has told 3D Focus that UHD on the BBC iPlayer would be technically possible if there are receivers and decoders available.

It is known that the BBC’s Natural History Unit is shooting projects in 4K but this extra funding is presumably coming via the BBC’s Worldwide commercial arm.

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