BBC To Air The Coronation In 4K, But Only For Some

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With the Coronation of King Charles III coming up on May 6, the BBC has announced it will stream the event live in Ultra HD (4K), as part of their ongoing UHD “experiment”.

In addition, the Coronation will be streamed using a Wide Colour Gamut, meaning viewers will see more vivid colours than they usually do on TV.

The catch? The event will only be available in 4K on BBC iPlayer (via broadband), and, as always, only on a strict list of support devices (see below for full instructions).

As part of their UHD Experiment, the BBC offers select few programmes in 4K, and also occasionally streams live events in UHD – as they did with Wimbledon 2022, and more recently with the Qatar World Cup.

4K TV comparison

The Coronation on Saturday, May 6 will be the centrepiece of live coverage, covering all the ceremonial events as they unfold throughout the day, starting from the early military movements to the formal processions leading up to the Westminster Abbey service.

The BBC will provide an extensive network of cameras, promising audiences a front-row seat on the ceremonial route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.

Bespoke commentary, starting with the atmosphere on the streets of London as the street-liners take position, will set the scene for the departure of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort from Buckingham Palace.

On the day, Kirsty Young will be in a studio at Buckingham Palace and JJ Chalmers will speak to members of the military as they prepare for one of the largest parades in living history.

BBC Coronation presenters
The BBC’s Coronation Presenters

Huw Edwards will provide commentary as the doors of Westminster Abbey open and Sophie Raworth will be outside speaking to guests as they arrive, Clare Balding will provide commentary for the ceremonial route, and Anita Rani will join the gathered crowds.

In Westminster Abbey, thousands of guests from the UK and around the world will gather, including politicians past and present, faith leaders, The King and Queen Consort’s patronages, and members of the Royal Family.

With the arrival of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort, the BBC will capture the unique Coronation Service in all its majesty. 

The day will continue with the return procession to Buckingham Palace. As the Royal Family is received at The Mall, the BBC will capture the moment that the nation welcomes its newly crowned monarchs before the events culminate in the balcony appearance.

Coverage will be available on BBC One and iPlayer (where the 4K stream will be available), with a signed version on BBC Two. Additionally, there will be accessible coverage for people who are blind or partially sighted on Red Button, hosted by Petroc Trelawny.

The Coronation will also be the BBC’s most accessible live event ever on BBC iPlayer: Viewers will be able to watch with subtitles, sign language, and an alternative commentary version for people with sight loss – all delivered live on iPlayer.

How To Watch The Coronation In 4K on BBC iPlayer

In line with the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II which saw millions tune in to television for the first time, the BBC is aiming to stay at the forefront of technology with the ceremonies on iPlayer streaming live from multiple locations in Ultra High Definition (4K) and High Dynamic Range (HDR).

UHD will offer sharper, more detailed images, while HDR will enable viewers to enjoy brighter highlights and deeper shadows throughout the celebration and pageantry of The King’s Procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.

BBC iPlayer’s 4K stream will also use a Wide Colour Gamut, meaning viewers will see more colours than they usually see on TV – offering an even more lifelike view that makes the most of the occasion, with more vivid colours.

For viewers to be able to watch the Coronation in 4K, the first step is to make sure your TV supports 4K.

If you also want to watch with HDR, you need a TV that supports the HLG format, which is the one the BBC uses (and isn’t as popular as some of the other HDR formats).

In addition to a 4K TV, you also need a streaming device that supports 4K and has the BBC iPlayer app. This can either be your Smart TV or a dedicated device.

Sky Glass pink - home
Sky Glass

Your 4K streaming device or Smart TV also needs to be supported by the BBC Ultra HD trial – and many devices are NOT yet supported, including some very popular ones like the Google Chromecast or even some versions of Sky Q (though Sky’s streaming TV – Sky Glass, as well as the new Sky Stream standalone puck – do support 4K on BBC iPlayer).

Additionally, the BBC’s 4K trial is NOT supported on mobile phones and computer/desktop browsers.

Amazon Fire TV 4K Max window
Fire TV 4K Max

Some devices that DO support the BBC’s Ultra HD are the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and some Freeview recorders like the Manhattan T3-R and the Humax Aura.

You can find the full list of 4K devices the BBC supports here.

Also, remember that for 4K streaming, you need a fast broadband connection – the BBC recommends a connection speed of 24MBit/s for the full 4K experience (3840 pixels), or 12MBit/s for a lower (2560 pixels) resolution. 

BBC iPlayer Ultra HD Settings

You need to make sure you have the right settings on your BBC iPlayer app, where you must set the video quality to “Best”:

  • Go to BBC iPlayer’s “Settings”
  • Select “Video Quality”
  • Choose “Best Quality”

Then, look for content with the UHD icon – Coronation events that will be available in 4K, will show the UHD icon on the main iPlayer menu (as long as your device supports it).

BBC iPlayer UHD 4K blue lights

To learn more about the BBC’s 4K content, see our full BBC iPlayer UHD Guide.

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3 thoughts on “BBC To Air The Coronation In 4K, But Only For Some”

  1. As always, it’s a choice between HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 or UHD. Quite why they can’t manage both, I don’t know 🤷🏻‍♂️
    Given the amount of music, I’ll be opting for the surround sound.

  2. Blows my mind that it’s still a ‘trial’ and that many popular devices like Chromecast with Google TV and Apple TV 4K aren’t supported…

  3. Makes me laugh that the BBC call it a Ultra HD trial, why are they still trialling it when other services have had regular UHD services for a number of years, even outdoor events.


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