World Cup in 4K: the best ways to catch the football action in Ultra HD

A picture of a couple watching football on the TV
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The BBC has made a big song and dance about the fact it's going to be the only destination for 24/7 coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2018 across TV, radio and digital. But where are the 4K broadcasts? 

After a slow start where it was touch and go about whether or not the BBC would be offering any 4K coverage of the games, it's now confirmed that it will be showing all 29 of its scheduled matches in the UHD format.

However, there are a few catches to consider. First of all, it won't be broadcasting over the air on a 4K channel. Instead, it'll all be streamed over the BBC's iPlayer platform You can find out if your screen is compatible with the Beeb’s 4K streaming option by clicking here.

That's not to say you'll get access though. This will be a trial of the BBC's large-scale ability to deliver 4K HDR content on demand, meaning there will be a first-come, first-served approach to those offered the high resolution streams while the BBC assesses its network. Everybody else will just have to follow our guide on how to watch World Cup live streams instead.

It isn't all over yet

In the run up to the announcement, viewers spotted that the BBC streamed the second half of the FA Cup Final on 19 May 2018 on its iPlayer service in 4K, as well as Hybrid Log Gamma HDR.

And that's not the first time the BBC has been trialling 4K broadcasts. What HiFi spotted that it also streamed a 4K live broadcast of the Rugby League challenge cup fixture between York and Catalan before writing a blog post about the trial. 

The post read: "We’re now looking at the results from this latest experiment to help us build our understanding for how we might be able to provide live events in UHD in the future."

These 4K trials look positive for the BBC's future of 4K HDR broadcasting, laying the groundwork for a round-the-clock 4K service from the broadcaster.

How to watch the World Cup in 4K in the US

In the US however, it's been a far more simple story. If you're watching on Fox Sports, US footie fanatics will be able to keep tabs on 36 matches on Fox, and 28 on FS1. All will be available in Ultra HD 4K resolution. There will also be extra channels for watching on phones and tablets including a a stat channel, cable-cam channel, and a tactical-camera channel. In some ways, it's rubbing salt in the wounds – the US failed to qualify for the World Cup this year. 

TechRadar's World Cup coverage is brought to you in association with Honor.

Becca Caddy

Becca is a contributor to TechRadar, a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than ten years, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality.