UHD HDR iPlayer for Blue Planet II
December 5, 2017
Wildlife fans can watch Blue Planet II in the best quality ever shown on the BBC iPlayer from December 10th.
The full, seven-part series will be available on iPlayer in Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) – the first time the BBC has streamed an episode or series in such high quality – on compatible TVs after the final episode airs on BBC One.
BBC iPlayer will also introduce a wider range of colours to the Ultra HD and HDR version. This means audiences can enjoy shades of colours never before seen in a BBC programme, bringing the spectacular animals, vibrant coral reefs and deep blue oceans of Blue Planet II to life like never before.
Audiences have been wowed by the landmark documentary series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, which uses revolutionary camera techniques and technology to capture breath-taking scenes from oceans around the world. Now, the BBC is using three of the latest technologies to let audiences watch the stunning footage in unprecedented quality:
- Ultra HD programmes take advantage of higher resolution TVs so that audiences can watch scenes like the deadly Portuguese man o’war catch its prey in exceptional clarity
- HDR takes this further with greater detail in the shadows and dark areas of the picture, as well as more natural and brighter highlights and mirror-like reflections
- Wider range of colours are possible by making the most of a Wider Colour Gamut technology, meaning audiences can enjoy the most lifelike BBC TV show ever made
The BBC uses a type of HDR called Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), invented by BBC Research & Development and Japanese broadcaster NHK. Because of the way HLG represents light, people can enjoy the most natural colours possible on their televisions at home, as if they were in the sea alongside the camera crew. It’s also is a significant step toward bringing more HDR programmes to more people, as it meets the complex needs of TV broadcasters, especially with live broadcasts.
“As the most watched programme of 2017, Blue Planet II has captured the hearts of the nation,” noted Charlotte Moore, Director of Content, BBC. “The series is a prime example of the world-class work of the BBC NHU documentary makers and I’m delighted that audiences will be able to watch the series in ground-breaking quality on BBC iPlayer.”
“The extra quality that Ultra HD, HDR and the wider range of colours brings to audiences is unparalleled,” added Matthew Postgate, Chief Technology and Product Officer, BBC Design & Engineering. “Blue Planet II is the first programme we’ve shown in such high quality and perfectly demonstrates how the BBC is pushing the boundaries of digital innovation. Making the full series available in Ultra HD and HDR on BBC iPlayer is the next step in reinventing the BBC for a new generation, and there’s not a better place to start than with the stunning Blue Planet II.”
The initiative is part of a trial helping the BBC refine how it makes, produces and distributes the next generation of high quality TV programmes.