The BBC has announced that you’ll be able to watch the upcoming festive Doctor Who special, Revolution of the Daleks, in 4K Ultra-HD.
Of course, you need the correct equipment to do so – i.e. a TV capable of playing UHD, and you won’t be able to just check it out on either the standard BBC1 channel or on BBC HD. Revolution of the Daleks will only be viewable in 4K via iPlayer, the BBC’s catch-up service, meaning a relatively fast internet connection will also be needed; that is, a minimum 24 megabits per second (Mbps).
It’ll also be displayed in High Dynamic Range (HDR), improving colour palette, shading, and contrast, making for an even sharper picture.
UHD uses four times as many pixels as HD video: 4K delivers 3840 x 2160p, whereas HD delivers 1920 x 1080p.
A BBC spokesman said:
“Many factors are taken into account when we’re deciding what content to make available in UHD. We’ve made a range of drama, factual and natural history programmes available for iPlayer viewers to watch in UHD, as well as some of the biggest live events, and we’ll continue to look at these as well as other areas as we explore UHD on iPlayer in the future”
The BBC first broadcast 4K on iPlayer in 2016, albeit with just four minutes from Planet Earth II. Since then, a few shows have featured UHD, including His Dark Materials, this year’s Christmas speech from the Queen, and Dracula, written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
This isn’t the first time Doctor Who has been available in 4K. Peter Capaldi’s swansong as the Twelfth Doctor, Twice Upon A Time, was upscaled from HD to UHD for its special Blu-ray 4K release in 2018. We don’t know whether Revolution of the Daleks has been filmed with UHD in mind or if it’s since been upscaled.
Revolution of the Daleks, starring Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor and John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, airs on BBC1 and BBC America on 1st January 2021.