All seven episodes will be made available to compatible TVs via the BBC iPlayer immediately after the transmission of Sunday’s series finale.
It’s the second Ultra HD trial to be run by the BBC. In a joint blog post, Andrew Cotton Principal Technologist and Phil Layton Head of Broadcast & Connected Systems said the initial trail’s major success was in signalling to manufacturers that the BBC was serious about the format, leading to 300 suitable devices from major manufacturers being made available this time around.
Matthew Postgate, Chief Technology and Product Officer, BBC Design & Engineering, said: “The extra quality that Ultra HD, HDR and the wider range of colours brings to audiences is unparalleled. Blue Planet II is the first programme we’ve shown in such high quality and perfectly demonstrates how the BBC is pushing the boundaries of digital innovation. Making the full series available in Ultra HD and HDR on BBC iPlayer is the next step in reinventing the BBC for a new generation, and there’s not a better place to start than with the stunning Blue Planet II.”
The BBC is using a type of HDR called Hybrid Log-Gamma, invented by BBC Research & Development and Japanese broadcaster, NHK. The use of Hybrid Log-Gamma allows the most natural colours possible on domestic televisions.
The BBC says it is a significant step toward bringing more HDR programmes to more people, as it meets the complex needs of TV broadcasters, especially with live broadcasts. Blue Planet II has been converted using specialist encoding and packaging tools within BBC R&D. It’s planned to add a UHD HDR encoding capability to their existing iPlayer encoding platform.
The landmark documentary series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, uses revolutionary camera techniques and technology to capture breath-taking scenes from oceans around the world.