How to watch Euro 2020 in 4K (and for free)

It may be a year late, but Euro 2020 is finally upon us. And yes, despite the delay it is still Euro 2020 and not Euro 2021, according to UEFA.

Given there will be caps on the number of fans allowed into stadiums due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many will be looking to get the best possible viewing experience at home.

The good news is that following on from the success of the BBC’s 4K World Cup coverage, 22 European Championship matches will be available to broadcast in 4K – assuming you have the right equipment.

Note that this only applies to 22 of the BBC’s 25 match allocation. Unfortunately, ITV’s selection won’t be broadcast in 4K (just HD), and neither BT Sport or Sky have any broadcast rights for this tournament.

If you have a telly that supports Freeview Play then you’ll be able to watch all these Euro 2020 matches for free and in one place.

Most obviously, you need a 4K TV, but just having a television that supports UHD resolutions on its own isn’t enough.

There are two additional things you need to ensure things run smoothly. 

The first is a device that supports the iPlayer app’s “experimental” 4K feature. While almost all smart TVs have BBC iPlayer built in, not all support UHD streaming.

Deal: LG 2021 55″ 4K TV for just £499 (save £200)

The BBC has a long, expanding list of compatible TVs here, but don’t despair if yours isn’t listed: various (but not recent) Fire TV Edition TVs and Roku devices are listed, and plug straight into a spare HDMI port.

The second thing you need is an internet connection with the bandwidth to deal with a UHD stream. The BBC recommends a speed of 24MBit/s for 4K or 12MBit/s for a reduced experience. If you’re bumping up against the top of that, you may want to ensure nobody else is streaming or playing games at the same time the home nations are playing.

Finally, HDR requires a TV that supports the HLG standard to bring the added advantages of brighter, punchier and more realistic colours that’s the cornerstone of HDR.

There are two big omissions worth flagging at this point. Firstly, you can’t watch Euro 2020 in 4K HDR in your browser, even if you have a UHD monitor. It also doesn’t support phone apps, so no broadcasting the football to your Chromecast Ultra.

Secondly, iPlayer on Sky Q is “not currently supported”, which is a bit of a let-down given UHD content is one of the main benefits. 

Assuming you have the compatible hardware, watching Euro 2020 in 4K is pretty straightforward. Just make sure that you’ve set it up right in the settings, first:

  1. Go to BBC iPlayer Settings

2. Press Settings & Help

3. Select Video Quality

4. Choose Best Quality

Obviously there are no matches on at the moment to test this with, but a search for UHD content shows a small ‘UHD’ logo above the title when you’re watching, so you should know it’s working if you can’t eyeball it.

That said, if the picture quality doesn’t look as sharp as you’re expecting, iPlayer may just be compensating for a weak internet connection.

If you think things should be better, do a speed test and then see if you can speed up your internet via some simple fixes.

Deal: LG 2021 55″ 4K TV for just £499 (save £200)

Given Euro 2020 starts on Friday 11th June, these are the matches you can look forward to viewing in 4K on iPlayer in the tournament’s early days.

  • Turkey v Italy
  • Wales v Switzerland
  • England v Croatia
  • Scotland v Czech Republic
  • Spain v Sweden

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