We’re hours away from the start of the quadrennial tournament that some erroneously refer to as the biggest show on Earth. But don8217;t let that bother you 8211; the start of the World Cup is nearly here!
England’s plane has touched down, the TV studios are ready and the amount of podcasts, tweets and articles trailing the tournament has reached fever pitch.
That8217;s the only game on Thursday but after that it8217;s full steam ahead with three games per day at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm BST until Sunday 24 June.
Then it8217;s onto the round of 16 (32 teams start the tournament) with two games per day between Sat 30 and Tue 3. These take place at 3pm and 7pm BST.
Watching the World Cup on TV in the UK
Watching the World Cup in the UK is mega easy. That’s because it’s one of the “crown jewels” of sport – events that have to be available on free-to-air TV under UK law.
The BBC and ITV will be sharing the coverage as usual, with all the games live on BBC 1, ITV or ITV 4. Evening highlights will also be available around 10.30pm. This programme will usually be on the channel that hasn’t shown a game that evening (the same channel may have shown games earlier in the day).
The BBC is covering England’s first two games for the first time ever, while ITV is taking England8217;s final group game against Belgium. As a result, ITV will have first and second pick of the round of 16 and first pick of the semi-finals. Both ITV and the BBC will show the final. Lord knows why ITV bothers doing this, but it does.
Watching the World Cup online and on your phone
Expect packages of highlights to be available from both broadcasters’ websites, too, and expect goals and short highlights to be available on their respective Twitter and other social accounts (for the games they have the rights to).
This World Cup will be more defined by readily-available short-form video than ever before. There’s also FIFA’s own Twitter account and YouTube channel as well. The BBC says it will also post daily World Cup stories on Snapchat and Instagram.
Archive games are also available via FIFA8217;s YouTube channel where you can watch 8216;as live8217;. England fans might want to look away now.
After several experiments with 4K HDR streaming via BBC iPlayer, the BBC has announced that all the games it has rights to will be available in 4K on the iPlayer using the HLG version of HDR.
This service is very much experimental and will only be available to a set number of users on a first-come, first-served basis – somewhere in the region of “tens of thousands” according to the BBC. All footage will be shown at 50 frames per second.
The stream will be available via the iPlayer app on certain 4K HDR compatible TVs. The BBC has provided a list of these TVs. If you8217;re depending on getting access, you8217;ll need to ensure your set is on there.
The Ultra HD stream will be available from the BBC iPlayer home screen as soon as programme coverage begins – it will be displayed until the trial is full for that match. Note that you won’t be able to rewind or restart the stream!
Note that whether you can get complete unadulterated 4K depends on your internet connection. For the full 3840 pixel Ultra HD, you8217;ll need at least a 40Mbps connection. That means if your connection is below that, you’ll get a downgraded version 8211; 2560 pixel Ultra HD.
BBC Radio 5 Live will have Mark Chapman and Kelly Cates covering the tournament and there will be live commentary of every single game on either 5 Live or sister station Sports Extra available online, via DAB digital radio or via the BBC iPlayer Radio app.
Yes, the BBC Has launched a VR app (BBC Sport VR 8211; FIFA World Cup Russia 2018) that will enable you to watch each match as though you’re sitting in the stands. The BBC’s work here is experimental, but it’s interesting regardless.