BBC tests new technology at Commonwealth Games

Corporation will use Games to demonstrate UHD, High-Frame-Rate television and virtual reality

The BBC will use the Commonwealth games to test a range of cutting edge technology. Their R&D team will run an entire “second broadcast” in parallel with the everyday output for TV, radio and the internet.


Not that you’ll be able to watch it at home. This stream will be exclusive to public showcases at the Glasgow Science Centre and in London, letting visitors to special exhibitions experience the future of the BBC.  So what toys will be on display? Well…

Ultra High Definition (UHD)

Also known as 4K, this is the higher than high-def format that TV manufacturers are pushing as the next big thing. With four times the resolution of HD, this offers pin sharp images and deeper colours. The BBC already tested the technology at the World Cup and London 2012.

High-Frame-Rate Television (HFR)

This one’s a bit more complicated. As we all know, television images are actually a sequence of still images, refreshed faster than the eye can discern to give the illusion of motion. By increasing the frame rate, screen ‘flicker’ is reduced and movement appears more fluid, perfect for sport. The BBC will be showing off 100fps (frames per second) broadcasts, well above the 25fps we’re used to in the UK. 

TV over IP

Television over the Internet. Simple. (Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, offering a full broadcast experience through the Internet rather than relying on an aerial.)

Venue Explorer

The venue explorer will allow you to pan and zoom around Commonwealth venues by swiping a tablet or, excitingly, while wearing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The audio will remix live depending on where you are looking. It’s like actually being there, without actually being there.


For more gadgets and widgets, read the BBC R&D blog.