The Euros are about to start. And if you have the option to watch the action in crystal clear Ultra High Definition (aka 4K) here’s how to make sure every pixel streams perfectly.
Euro 2020 fixtures will air on BBC and ITV exclusively, with the first opening game of the tournament between Turkey and Italy in Rome on Friday 11 June from 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
A total of 22 out of 25 games that will air live on BBC will be available to watch in Ultra HD on BBC iPlayer as part of a trial from the BBC. This includes the first games in the competition for England, Scotland and Wales.
Unfortunately, ITV content is currently unavailable in 4K UHD, so for those games you’ll have to make do with standard definition sport.
Streaming in standard definition doesn’t require too much bandwidth, usually a minimum of 2-3Mbps, or 5-8Mbps for HD. Of course, this doesn’t take into account other demands on your broadband, such as other people using the internet or additional Wi-Fi connected devices running in the background.
In contrast, streaming in 4K UHD requires download speeds of at least 25Mbps. However, depending on what’s happening on screen, the demands on your broadband connection can rise and fall significantly. 25Mbps isn’t necessarily enough to guarantee a true 4K stream on all platforms.
Run a quick speed test to see your streaming speeds.
A good rule of thumb is to take the minimum requirement and add 25% just to be safe. So for 4K streaming, you should have download speeds of 31-32Mbps. But if you want to make sure your broadband doesn’t struggle, we’d recommend getting at least 50Mbps.
If you’re on a standard ADSL broadband package, you’re not going to be able to enjoy 4K. And if 4K streaming is something you do often, then it’s a good idea to get as many Mbps as you can to avoid lag and buffering issues.
Check out the latest fibre broadband deals
If your Wi-Fi router is tucked away in a corner or a cupboard, you could be losing a lot of your Wi-Fi signal. Move your router as close to your streaming device as possible, avoiding large furniture, thick walls and electronic items that could block the Wi-Fi signal.
Switching to a solid, wired connection to your router is less convenient than using Wi-Fi, but it does allow for significantly faster, more reliable broadband speeds. If you use a set-top box to stream your content, such as the YouView+ box, you should be able to connect your device directly to your router with an ethernet cable.
If you have children or housemates that are streaming or gaming in HD, then now’s the time to kick them off their devices. Your broadband bandwidth is shared evenly across the devices that access it. So the more users streaming content, the less bandwidth you’ll have available to stream the football in 4K. Sorry kids, time to go outside and play for a bit.
If you aren’t able to get better broadband where you live, switching to Sky could make your live sport experience much better. Unlike streaming services, Sky delivers its 4K content via satellite, and it’s viewed via your Sky Q set-top box. And while the initial set up is more cumbersome than plugging in a streaming device, your 4K content won’t be throttled by slow or unreliable broadband.
Once you have Sky UHD installed, you can simply watch Sky Sports as normal and you’ll be prompted whenever Ultra HD is available. There are simple on-screen instructions to follow and you can be watching crystal clear sport in just a few clicks.
Another benefit to watching live sport on Sky is your ability to access additional content by pressing the red button. You can then see additional information, stats and highlights from the game.
However, if you want the full immersive Ultra HD live sport experience, including being able to pause and rewind footage in UHD, you’ll need to access the Ultra HD broadcast via the Sky Q menu. Press the ‘Home’ button on your Sky Q remote, select ‘Sports’ and then ‘Featured’ and then scroll down to ‘Live sport’ to select the game you want to watch and record.
You can access BBC iPlayer via your Sky Q box in order to watch Euro 2020 games in 4K/UHD. Simply navigate to the ‘Apps’ section and select BBC iPlayer, or press the red button while on a BBC channel and select BBC iPlayer.
You’ll need to sign in to your BBC account to set up your iPlayer. From there, you’ll be able to pick up and resume watching across other devices as well.