If there was ever a match made in audiovisual heaven it was 4K video and Planet Earth — the BBC’s flagship nature documentary series. The two were destined for one another, and today, the UK broadcaster announced that it would be testing its first broadcast of Planet Earth II in 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) video. Viewers in the UK with compatible TVs will be able to watch a four-minute clip from the new series via the BBC’s on-demand iPlayer app.
“One of the clips is a frog on a leaf with lots of rain, and the reason this is so interesting is that the redness of the frog is a really deep Ferrari red that you would never get in broadcast television at the moment,” Phil Layton, head of broadcast and connected systems at BBC R&D told BBC News. “We want to show that this is how the BBC could make ultra-high definition HDR material available to iPlayer.”
The broadcaster described this experiment as an “early but important step toward streaming high-quality Ultra HD programs on BBC iPlayer in the future.” However, only a small number of consumers will be able to see the test footage as intended. The 4K HDR clip uses a format known as HLG or hybrid log-gamma — a royalty-free standard developed by the BBC in partnership with Japan’s national broadcasting organization, NHK. Currently, only a select number of TV sets made by Panasonic support HLG. The full list, via Wired, can be seen below:
Panasonic, CX680 Series, CX700 series, CR730 series, CX800 series, CR852 series, CZ950 Series, DX902 Series (65,58,50), DR852 series (65,55), DX802 series (58,50), DX750 series (65,58,50), Dx720 series (58, 50), DX700 Series (58,50), DX680 Series (55,49,40) and DX650 series (55,49,40)