BBC app brings World Cup matches to VR and Ultra HD in trials

Watch games from the tournament in virtual reality and 4K.

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Football fans can experience the World Cup in VR and Ultra HD for the first time as the BBC kicks off two high-tech trials for broadcasting the popular sporting event. 

The dedicated BBC Sport VR - FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app will bring audiences live coverage of all 33 matches in this year's competition in Russia. When users open the app, they'll be virtually transported to a box in a Russian stadium, where they can view a live match and check out stats on the box's coffee table. 

The app simulates a private box with a lobby where different features are available, as well as a viewing area looking out onto the pitch. Fans who want to get closer to the action can change their view and jump behind either goal. When there's no match on, you can watch a daily highlights package or other on-demand content on a big screen in the virtual box.

The app is now available for AndroidiOSGear VR and PlayStation VR. You can use it on iPhones running iOS 10 and above or on devices with the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system or higher. It will also be available for Oculus Go. Oculus is also offering its own VR viewing service for international viewers.


The VR option transports fans to a virtual box to match live matches or review stats.


The Ultra HD trial will bring BBC One's 29 World Cup matches to BBC iPlayer in Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR).

There are a limited number of "seats" at each match, however, and fans will be allowed onto these streams on a first-come, first-served basis. The soccer stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins until the trial fills up for that match.

Audiences will also need an Internet connection of at least 40Mbps for the full 3,840-pixel Ultra HD or 20Mbps for 2,560-pixel Ultra HD. Footage will be played at 50 frames per second.

The 2018 World Cup will run from Thursday to July 15.

In March, the BBC acknowledged that young people in the UK are spending more time watching Netflix than all of the BBC's programming combined, including iPlayer.

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First published, May 30 at 4:01 p.m. BST.
Update, June 14 at 1:52 p.m. BST: Adds details of the VR app's availability.