What is 4K or Ultra HD?
4K and Ultra HD are used interchangeably to refer to a resolution of 3840x2160p. It’s the next standard up from the 1920x1080p of Full HD, packing four times the number of pixels (an incredible 8 million) into the same sized area and doubling the frame rate from 25 to 50 so you’ll be able to enjoy an immensely clear and vibrant display.
There’s not a massive amount of 4K content available in the UK yet, but the format is most definitely gaining traction as large 4K TVs slowly start to become more affordable, more explosive Hollywood blockbusters are released on UHD Blu-Ray and the competition between providers to be the first to release a variety of 4K content becomes fiercer.
What are BT offering in 4K?
BT’s current 4K offering is the great BT Sport Ultra HD channel which is in fact Europe’s first UHD live sports channel.
You’ll be able to catch all the latest exciting action from the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Europa League and as well as a selection of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches and MotoGP races.
Any kind of content is guaranteed to look amazing in 4K, but sport is an area where it’s really possible to notice the difference. Every single small detail will appear very sharp and punchy so that you’ll never have to miss any heart-stopping moment and the increased frame rate is able to better accommodate the thrilling fast-paced nature of say a football match, making switching from camera to camera smoother and a lot less jarring.
The YouView Ultra HD set top box that you’ll need in order to enjoy all of this brilliant high-quality 4K sporting action is also ready to receive any type of 4K content that BT releases in the future.
How to watch BT’s 4K Ultra HD content
In order to be able to enjoy 4K content with BT you’ll first obviously require a TV that’s capable of supporting the format. Handily, BT have already compiled a very comprehensive list.
You’ll also need BT’s Total Entertainment package which at present is the only package which will enable you to watch 4K content.
Included is a 1TB YouView Ultra HD set top box that’s capable of recording up to a truly huge 600 hours’ worth of programming, over 130 different TV channels and a free download of the BT TV app so you’re able to stream all of your favourite content whenever you like.
The BT TV Store where you’re able to rent or buy a vast array of the latest movies and TV box sets and catch-up services like BBC iPlayer can also be accessed but unfortunately, neither of them yet carry any glossy 4K content.
Finally, because BT Sport Ultra HD is an IP channel (meaning that it’s broadcast using the internet) that’s trying to transfer a lot of data you’ll need BT’s superfast fibre optic Infinity broadband and a minimum of a 40Mbps connection bundled in alongside the Total Entertainment package in order to actually be able to receive it.
BT offer both Infinity 1 broadband which is able to receive a speed of up to 52Mbps and Infinity 2 that’s able to reach up to a massive 76Mbps. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be consistently able to achieve either top speed, so it’s better to opt for Infinity 2 if you want to enjoy BT’s 4K content.
Watching Netflix 4K with BT Ultra HD
For an extra £8.99 a month, popular streaming service Netflix’s premium plan (the only option allowing you to stream in 4K) can be bundled in with BT’s Total Entertainment package. The site features a variety of fantastic 4K content including critically acclaimed crime drama Breaking Bad and gripping American political series House of Cards.
The Total Entertainment package is available for around £18 a month with no activation fee on a 12-month contract. BT’s Unlimited Infinity 2 broadband is just £26 a month, with an unlimited monthly usage cap, speeds of up to 76Mb and a free BT Smart Hub. There is also the monthly £18.99 cost of line rental however, which takes the total cost up to £44.99 a month for broadband.
Netflix, the 11 Sky Cinema channels, 4 Sky Sports channels and an extra YouView+ box (which will enable you to watch and record TV in two rooms at once) can each be added to your bundle for a small individual fee whilst you can decide to included AMC and the BT Sports channels for free.