Research & Development

BBC R&D History

The need for research and development at the British Broadcasting Company was identified almost as soon as public service broadcasting was established in 1922. Based in Research Labs in Salford and in London, our teams continue to pioneer in research, design and engineering for broadcast and IP, collaborating with and setting the standard for research departments everywhere.

To find out about over 80 years of innovation and cutting edge technologies, click on the links below.

  • 1920s

    The British Broadcasting Company forms, becoming the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1927. The first BBC Engineering staff are appointed and research & development begins.

  • 1930s

    BBC Research Department forms and moves location twice. Early research is mainly concerned with short-wave radio, the Simultaneous Broadcast system, and Television.

    • 1930

      BBC Research Department launches in April 1930

      In 1930 the remaining Development section becomes the Research Department. The new department is led by H.L. Kirke, first as Senior Development Engineer and from 1936 as Head of Research Department, a position he held until 1950. It's first location is Avenue House in Clapham.

    • 1932

      Research Department moves to 74 Nightingale Lane in Balham

      From nearby Avenue House, Clapham. This building was a former Jewish Home of Rest. 

    • 1934

      Research Department moves to Nightingale Square

      This was formerly a convent and situated very close to Nightingale Lane. 

    • 1937

      Research Department develops the first close-talking noise-cancelling ribbon microphone giving the broadcast speech, the L1

      It is the predecessor of the lip mic which was developed in 1949. 

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    • 1939

      Many staff from department leave to join the armed forces and the war effort

      The few that remain are concerned with investigations into HF problems and developments of antennas and antenna arrays. Some worked on disc recording apparatus, including types used by front-line correspondents.

  • 1940s

    After a World War II bomb attack, the department moves to Bagley Croft followed by a permanent move to Kingswood Warren. FM radio is introduced, early tests of colour television and new magnetic recording techniques start.

    • 1944

      Staff evacuated to the safety of Bagley Croft near Oxford

      This was following a flying bomb attack near Nightingale Square during the Second World War.

    • 1945

      First VHF/FM transmission tests from Alexandra Palace

      To determine range and general possibilities of an Ultra-Short-Wave Frequency Modulated Broadcasting Service.

    • 1947

      Work on scale model cylindrical slot antennas for Wrotham and Sutton Coldfield

    • 1947

      BBC Designs Department launches

      The Department's function is to design equipment the BBC requires.

    • 1948

      First attempts to recruit graduates from Cambridge

      BBC R&D still recruits graduates for their trainee scheme today, but not just from Cambridge. 

    • 1948

      Television: proposals for five channels in the band 40-68 MHz

      This was accepted by the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Radio Industries Council.

    • 1948

      Kingswood Warren in Surrey acquired

      The Department began to look for premises in 1947 to accommodate the post-war increase in staff. The first wave of staff moved surrey in1948. H L Kirke (Head of Research Department) moved in 1949 and it became the Department's official headquarters. 

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    • 1949

      Work starts on smaller, light, higher sensitive commentator's microphone called the L2

      Replacing the L1 microphone which had been in use since 1937. The design was developed commercially by STC and Coles. 

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  • 1950s

    It is the decade of television. Telerecording equipment is designed and used, followed by the introduction of the department's first tape recorder and at the end of the decade, the first transatlantic television transmission takes place.

    • 1951

      Department demonstrates World's first TV Standards Converter

      It uses a special camera tube and picture monitor with long-persistence phosphors (a compromise between flicker and blurring of motion). A twin channel version was used in 1952 to enable British viewers to see pictures simultaneously with the French over a London to Paris link. 

    • 1952

      Twin channel version of first Standards Converter used

      Used to convert French 819-line pictures to the 405-line UK standard, enabling British viewers to see pictures simultaneously with the French over a temporary Paris to London link. It was still in use for Princess Margaret’s wedding (1960) to convert pictures to the American Standard.

    • 1953

      Suppressed-frame telerecording equipment designed

      It was used to record pictures at Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation service in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd June 1953. The PSG/1 microphone ribbon was also used to record the service and then selected for commerical production.

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    • 1954

      Approval of Frequency Modulation (FM) for VHF radio broadcasting

      This is given by the Post Master General.

    • 1955

      First VHF/FM Transmitting Station opened at Wrotham

    • 1956

      Demonstrations of 405-line NTSC Colour Transmissions

      This was to CCIR (Consultative Committee on International Radio)  Study Group 11 and many other important bodies. The CCIR was part of the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) and the group subsquently became known as ITU-R.

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    • 1957

      First experimental 625-line television transmission at UHF in Band V

      From Crystal Palace. 

    • 1958

      VERA (Vision Electronic Recording Apparatus) demonstrated

      It was the first video tape machine used by the BBC, development began in 1952. It was demonstrated by "Panorama" on the 14th April 1958. Unfortunately its life was very short, as it was overtaken by the creation of Ampex VR1000a from the USA.  

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    • 1959

      First transatlantic television transmission by R&D's 'Cablefilm'

      It was done by television cables using slow-speed transmission equipment constructed by the Designs Department at the Research Department. The occasion was the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway jointly by Queen Elizabeth II and President Eisenhower of the United States.

  • 1960s

    TV & radio production continues to expand. Satellite communications are used for the first time in broadcasting and by the end of the decade the nation has seen the transition to colour TV.

    • 1960

      First Prototype Multi-Standard Converter

      Used to convert to the American Standard, pictures of Princess Margaret's wedding in May 1960.

    • 1961

      Stockholm Conference on VHF/UHF planning

      Detailed proposals for frequency allocation in Bands I, II, III, IV & V submitted by the Department to the conference via the Post Office. 

    • 1962

      First colour transatlantic TV transmission by satellite

      Using the Research Department's Slide scanner from Goonhilly Down to Andover, Maine.


    • 1963

      NTSC, SECAM and PAL Colour demonstrations to the EBU and ORIT

      The UK adopted the PAL colour system in 1966. ORIT stands for the Organisation Regional Inter-American de Trabajadores.

    • 1964

      First studies into Digital Techniques for Television

    • 1965

      Sound-in-Syncs first assessed

      A method of transmitting audio signals in the television signal line synchronising pulse period. 

    • 1966

      625-line PAL colour television system adopted by the UK

    • 1967

      BBC Two transmits first regular colour television service in Europe

      Beginning on the 2nd December 1967. The first colour broadcast came from Wimbledon that year. 

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    • 1968

      First electronic Field-Store Standards Converter used for Mexico City Olympics

      Used to convert 525/60 NTSC pictures from the Mexico City Olympics via satellite to 625/50 PAL at Television Centre. Its storage elements are quartz blocks. 

    • 1969

      BBC One starts full colour service

      On the 15th November 1969. 

      Related links:

    • 1969

      Queen's Award for the Field Store Standard Converter

      The Department's first Queen's Award for the Field Store Standards Converter (awarded with BBC Designs Department).

  • 1970s

    The pace of development quickens as the use of integrated circuits for signal processing leads to many innovative developments, such as the launch of CEEFAX.

    • 1970

      Digital Line-Store Standards Convertor work commences

    • 1971

      World's first demonstration of Digital Recording of Stereo Audio Signals

    • 1972

      Quadraphonic (Four-Channel Sound) Recordings

      Made at the 50th Anniversary Promenade Concert in the Royal Albert Hall, experimental broadcasts happend in 1977. 

    • 1974

    • 1974

      BBC R&D demonstrates world's first Digital Television Recorder

      At IBC (The International Broadcasting Convention).

    • 1974

      Queen's Award for Sound-in-Syncs

      This was awarded jointly with the BBC Designs Department.

    • 1975

      Successful transmission of Digital Television signals

      Over 120 Mbit/s Post Office link between Guildford and Portsmouth.

    • 1976

      First transmissions of Digital Television over INTELSAT satellite

      This was at 60 Mbit/s. INTELSAT stands for International Telecommunications Satellite Organization. 

    • 1977

      World first Multi-Channel Digital Audio Recorder to be made commercially available in 1979

      This was publicly announced in November 1977 and was jointly developed by the BBC and American company 3M. It was the first of its kind. 

    • 1978

      Demonstrations of VHF Radio Data (RDS) on Tomorrow's World

      The system was publicly launched in 1987. 

    • 1979

      First CEEFAX Teletext subtitled programme

      "This will be a milestone in the history of television. For the first time anywhere in the world, a programme will be transmitted to two sets of viewers at the same time. For most viewers it will be seen as a normal programme. but for deaf viewers with Ceefax sets it will be seen with a visual commentary. There will be sub-titles but, for the first time ever, only for Ceefax viewers who want them."

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  • 1980s

    A debate on how best to exploit the satellite broadcasting spectrum rages: should we use analogue, wait for digital, or a hybrid? The BBC launches several important initiatives that the department contributes heavily to.

    • 1981

      "Songs of Praise" first programme to use Transportable Earth Station

      Built by Research Department for live transmissions from Guernsey via the Orbital Test Satellite. 

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    • 1982

      HDTV (High Definition Television) studies commence in earnest

    • 1983

      Successful transmission of two 68 Mbit/s PAL television/sound/data packages over 140 Mbit/s between London and Birmingham

      This was undertaken in cooperation with Designs Department, Communications Department and British Telecom (BT). This experimental digital link provided the main feeds to Birmingham for several months.

    • 1983

      Queen's Award for Teletext

      Awarded with the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

    • 1984

      Video Watermarking devised

      A method for electronically labelling television pictures. 

    • 1984

      First ever IBC award presented to Dr Geoffrey Phillips

      Dr Geoffrey Phillips, Head of Radio Frequency Group received the first ever IBC Award in recognition of over thirty years of internationally acclaimed work in fostering the efficient use of the radio spectrum. The award was designed by John Tribe, a graphic designer at London Weekend Television. It is in an engraved glass form, using the classic Greek Golden Section to symbolise the marriage between technology and artistic creation in broadcasting.

    • 1985

      LF Radio Teleswitching service launches

      This enables the Electricity Supply Industry to remotely control radio teleswitches in homes, offices and factories in order to optimise power distribution at peak demand times. 

    • 1986

      HDTV picture store and high line-rate picture monitor demonstrated

      At IBC in Brighton. 

    • 1986

      Development of motion estimation technology and application to standards conversion

      A patent for this work was filed in March 1986, it was licensed to Snell & Wilcox and used in the 'Alchemist' standards converter and jointly awarded a Queen's Award in 1998.

      Related links:

    • 1987

      R&D designed Digital Audio Editor

      It was subsequently installed in BBC Broadcasting House, London.

      Related links:

    • 1987

      Queen's Award for LF Radio Teleswitching

      In April 1987 BBC Engineering received their fourth Queen's Award, on this occasion jointly with the Electricity Council, for their pioneering work in developing Radio Teleswitching. Radio Teleswitching was an offshoot of what, to broadcasters, was a much more important system - RDS. 

    • 1988

      RDS (Radio Data System) on FM launches

    • 1989

      Helitrak successfully demonstrated during the Boat Race

    • 1989

      The Ginger Tree (the first HD Film) produced

  • 1990s

    The creative work of our engineers means the BBC enters the digital age, with the start of digital services and the BBC website launch. The BBC's Research and Designs departments merge to become BBC Research & Development.

    • 1990

      First trials of DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting)

      From Crystal Palace with an active repeater at Kenley. It was presented to press and interested parties in 1991, it was subsequently compared with the FM service on board a specially adapted coach in Birmingham.

    • 1991

      Internet name registered

      This was done by Brandon Butterworth, Engineer in BBC Research Department.

    • 1991

    • 1992

      Queen's Award for NICAM 728

      In April of 1992 BBC Engineering received the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement, it was in recognition of the Research Department's development of the NICAM 728 Digital Stereo Sound System for Television.

    • 1993

      BBC Research Department leads a demonstration by two collaborative projects on Digital TV to European Parliament

      In very hot weather the demonstrations are kept going by a teapot full of ice cubes! But they persuaded the European Commission to back European research on Digital TV, and Europe retained its lead in the technology.

    • 1993

      BBC Research and BBC Designs Departments merge

      It is now known as BBC Research & Development (BBC R&D). 

    • 1995

      DAB launches

      The new DAB radio service was launched in September 1995. The system was implemented using technology and support provided by BBC R&D.

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    • 1996

      First DVB Compliant Digital TV broadcast on the Continent

      In September 1996 R&D takes the digital TV feed broadcast from Crystal Palace over an experimental ATM link to Amsterdam, enabling the Dutch broadcaster NOZEMA and BBC led EC-sponsored VALIDATE to make the first broadcast of this kind.

    • 1997

      Demonstration of Free-d camera tracking system at IBC 1997

      It won an RTS Innovation award in 1998. 

    • 1997

    • 1998

      Queen's Award for the development of a Standards Converter

      The BBC has been awarded its sixth Queen's Award to Industry for Technical Innovation. Awarded jointly with Snell & Wilcox Ltd, the award was granted for the development of a standards converter -- a technology that has contributed to the exchange of television programmes between Europe and the US.

    • 1998

      Public launch of digital terrestrial television in UK

      BBC R&D plays a key part in the team that delivers the technical infrastructure for this service. 

    • 1999

      BBC Digital Text service successfully launched on DTT

      This new service is the digital replacement for analogue Teletext.

    • 1999

      Emmy Award for Sound-in-Syncs

      Nearly 30 years after its completion, the BBC's sound distribution technology, Sound in Syncs, has won an Emmy. Three of the engineers who worked on the project in the late 1960s -- the department's head of Business and Engineering, John Astle, and former Kingswood Warren colleagues Chris Dalton and Colin Spicer -- collected the prized trophy at a ceremony in New York.

  • 2000s

    Emerging technology continues to challenge the privileged place of television and radio in people's lives. New platforms such as Freeview, Freesat and BBC iPlayer all launch with help from BBC Research & Development.

    • 2000

      World's first digital radio camera demonstrated at NAB Convention in USA

      It was first used on air, for Great Northern Run in 2000.

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    • 2000

      First demonstration of Audio Description

      A service to help people with visual impairments to better follow television programmes.

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    • 2001

      Speech Recognition used as an aid to provide subtitles

      This gained an Award from the Royal Television Society (RTS).

      Related links:

    • 2001

      Interactive Wimbledon first broadcast on Digital Terrestrial TV

      BBC R&D provides technical know-how for this new service.

    • 2001

      BBC R&D designed a "Virtual Swingometer" for the election night broadcast

      However, there was hardly any swing for it to display.

    • 2001

      Queen's Award for the Digital TV Chip

      BBC Research & Development and LSI Logic (a leading designer and manufacturer of communications and storage semiconductors), have received the highly prestigious Queen's Award for Industry in the category of Innovation for a jointly developed single-chip digital terrestrial television (DTT) demodulator.

    • 2002

      Freeview launches

      BBC R&D provides vital technical advice for the Freeview bid, and helps to get the service up and running.

    • 2003

      Digital Radio Mondiale launched at Radio Consortium in Geneva

      World first for BBC R&D, we demonstrated two synchronised DRM transmitters in different frequencies and frequency-diversity reception.

      Related links;

    • 2004

      HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited BBC R&D at Kingswood Warren

      The Duke was shown our work on Automated Camera Control, Digital Radio Mondiale and Access Services for Digital TV.

    • 2004

      Sports Graphic System (Piero) used on Match of the Day on the 25th September 2004

      It was licensed to Red Bee Media (now Ericsson) for the Piero system and RT Software Ltd for the Tog Sports System. Piero also includes a novel approach for rendering virtual views covered by various patents.

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    • 2006

      World's first end-to-end MIMO broadcast system tested

    • 2007

      BBC Redux launches

      Experimental online programme archive is launched and used as a research tool by production teams within the BBC.

    • 2008

      Freesat launches

    • 2009

      BBC R&D North Lab opens in BBC Manchester

      Established as BBC R&D's 2nd Lab.  

  • 2010s

    The department is heavily involved in delivering technical innovations for major sporting events held in the UK. Youview & BBC Microbit are launched, the prototype of which is developed by BBC Research & Development.

    • 2010

      BBC Kingswood Warren closes

      Kingswood Warren closes for the final time, BBC R&D staff move to BBC's West London Campus and Manchester. 

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    • 2010

      Successfully transmitted a live music event using Super Hi-Vision signals

      This was from BBC Televison Centre to NHK in Japan.

    • 2010

      Freeview HD launches

      The technical launch of Freeview HD services takes place in December 2009, initially from Crystal Palace and Winter Hill, using the new DVB-T2 broadcasting standard. Full Freeview HD services launch in March 2010 .

      Related Links:

      BBC Internet Blog - Pic of the Day: Freeview HD Technical Launch

    • 2011

      Queen's Award for the Piero Sports Graphic System

      The Production Magic team at BBC R&D has been working on new techniques and applications of computer-based image processing for TV production for many years. Some of this work was recognised in the form of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the "Innovation" category, for their contribution to the Piero sports graphics system.

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    • 2011

      BBC R&D North Lab moves to BBC MediaCityUK in Salford

      MediaCityUK is the new location for BBC North (BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Breakfast are broadcast from there). BBC Oxford Road in Manchester is decommissioned. 

    • 2012

      World's first Super Hi-Vision coverage of the Olympic Games

      With live transmission from London to Japan and the USA. The games were held in London and the BBC was the host broadcaster. The opening ceremony was broadcast live on BBC 1 and achieved one of the biggest UK television audiences in recent years. 

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    • 2012

      BBC Connected Studio launches

      Related links:

      BBC Connnected Studio

    • 2012

      YouView launches on 26th July 2012

      Joint venture between the public service broadcasters in the UK. BBC R&D contributes heavily to its launch.

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    • 2012

      HM The Queen officially opens BBC North and sees BBC R&D's work

      Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh opened BBC North in MediaCityUK and staff gave the royal party a short demonstration of the work undertaken by the Department. 

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    • 2013

      BBC R&D's Central Lab in One Euston Square, Central London opens on 23rd June 2013

      It becomes BBC R&D's 3rd lab. 

    • 2014

      World's first implementation of a live end-to-end UHD broadcasting system over IP at Commonwealth Games 2014

    • 2014

      BBC Connected Studio and World Service (international) partnership programme launches

    • 2015

      Replacing NICAM decoder in New Broadcasting House in London

      NICAM stands for Near Instantaneous Companded Audio Multiplex.

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    • 2015

      BBC Taster launches on 26th January 2015

      Related links:

      BBC Taster

    • 2015

      Built the BBC micro:bit prototype

      Pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, given to school children in year 7 for free. 

    • 2015

      Work on a joint HDR proposal with NHK begins

      On the 15th May 2015, the BBC announced they had begun work with NHK to develop a joint High Dynamic Range (HDR) proposal that would be proposed to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    • 2015

      Freeview Play launches in October 2015

    • 2016

      ITU Recommendation defining two HDR transfer functions

      On the 6th July 2016, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced Rec. 2100 which defines two HDR transfer functions one of which was Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) developed by BBC R&D and NHK.  

    • 2016

      HLG edit from Planet Earth II added to iPlayer IPTV platform for UHD testing

      On the 8 December 2016, the BBC announced that it was adding a 4-minute Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) edit from their Planet Earth II series to its iPlayer IPTV platform for public Ultra High Definition (UHD) testing.

    • 2017

      BBC Director General Tony Hall announces the Culture UK partnership

      On 4th April Tony Hall announced CultureUK a new creative partnership designed to energise audiences, artists - and the creative industries. He cited that ‘We have a world class Research and Development team at the BBC and I want to share their expertise. Working closely with the sector, and tech partners, I want us to look at new ways to captivate new audiences - storytelling in VR; immersive theatrical experiences; big creative collaborations that can only exist in the digital space'.

      Related Links

      BBC Media Centre- BBC announces Culture UK partnership

    • 2017

      Doctor Who in Binaural Sound

      A special binaural version of 'Knock Knock' episode 4 in the latest series of Doctor Who is made available on the BBC iPlayer. Giving an immersive spatial sound experience for headphone listeners, it was remixed using BBC R&D's binaural production tools.

      Related Links:

      Sounding Special: Doctor Who in Binaural Sound


    • 2017

      BBC Taster VR app launches on Android and IoS

    • 2017

      BBC Redux is ten years old

      In July 2017 BBC Redux celebrated its tenth anniversary.  Since its launch, it has been used prolifically across the BBC to aid production.  

    • 2017

      High Efficiency Video Coding standard wins Primetime Engineering Emmy

      R&D made significant contributions to the development of the video compression standard H.265/HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), via the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), which was awarded an Engineering Emmy.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D- HEVC for professional applications

      Engineering Emmy Award winners announced

    • 2017

      R&D releases ‘The Inspection Chamber’, the BBC’s first interactive audio play for Amazon Alexa

    • 2017

      BBC launches first broadcast HbbTV service in the UK

      R&D was involved in writing the latest HbbTV 2.0.1 specification, ensuring that the service – which will move the BBC away from existing Red Button technology- meets the needs of the BBC’s interactive services as well as the wider UK broadcast industry.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D- HbbTV standards

      BBC R&D- HbbTV interactive television

      BBC R&D- Connected TVs and viewing companion screens

    • 2017

      Blue Planet II in UHD, HDR, HLG

      All seven episodes of the landmark natural history series Blue Planet II are published to iPlayer, following a small trial with Planet Earth the previous year. Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) is an High Dynamic Range (HDR) system specifically developed for television by BBC R&D and Japanese broadcaster NHK.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D - Making Blue Planet II available in UHD & HDR on BBC iPlayer

      BBC R&D - High Dynamic Range Television and Hybrid Log-Gamma

    • 2017

      BBC RemArc wins Dementia Innovation of the Year award from Alzheimers Society

      The BBC Reminiscence Archive (RemArc), a tool to trigger memories in those with dementia using archive material, was designed by BBC Archives and launched on R&D’s Taster platform.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D - Memories, dementia and the archives

      BBC RemArc website

    • 2017

      ‘Lost’ Morecambe and Wise episode restored

      R&D worked with archivists and experts from Queen Mary University of London to reclaim rare footage of an early Morecambe & Wise BBC broadcast from an heavily degraded acetate film reel.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D- Morecambe and Wise film recovery algorithm


      BBC Click!

    • 2018

      Launch of Civilisations AR app

      In March, the BBC released its first augmented reality app to accompany the Civilisations series on BBC Two. The app, created by BBC R&D and Nexus Studios, gives users ‘hands on’ access to ancient artefacts from around the world.

      Related Links

      BBC Taster - Civilisations AR app

      BBC Media Centre- BBC's first AR app launched

      Tech Radar  



      Virtual Reality Insider

    • 2018

      'iSpy Sound Detective Agency' wins BBC Radio & Music award

      'iSpy Sound Detective Agency', a binaural adventure series produced by CBeebies Radio in collaboration with R&D's audio team, won 'Best Digital Innovation' at the BBC Radio & Music Awards.  Judges praised the show for introducing children to the concept of visual impairment through its innovative use of R&D's binaural sound production system.

      Related Links

      CBeebies Radio - iSpy Sound Detective Agency

    • 2018

      BBC’s first Ultra High Definition (UHD) live streams on iPlayer

      The BBC announced that its coverage of the FIFA World Cup would be broadcast in UHD and HDR on iPlayer- a first for the corporation.  This was followed in June by live UHD-HDR streams of the Wimbledon Championships on iPlayer. That year the wedding of Prince Harry Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle was also recorded in UHD. 

      Related Links

      BBC announces World Cup in UHD and HLG-HDR

      BBC R&D - World Cup 2018 in UHD

      BBC R&D- Royal Wedding in UHD

      BBC R&D- Summer of Sport in UHD

      Broadcast Now

    • 2018

      Audio Definition Model Renderer wins EBU Technology & Innovation award

      R&D engineers Chris Pike and Thomas Nixon received the European Broadcasting Union's Technology & Innovation Award for their work on the next-generation audio 'EBU ADM Renderer', alongside partners from the EBU.  

      Related Links

      BBC R&D: 'looking into the EAR: Turning Audio Research Into Practice'

      European Broadcasting Union: Renderer For Next Generation Audio wins EBU Technology & Innovation Award

    • 2018

      Alicia Grandjean wins 'Future Stars of Tech' Web Development award

      Alicia Grandjean, a software engineer in IRFS, won the Future Stars of Tech award for her achievements in the 'Web Development' field. 

      The 'Future Stars of Tech' awards are open to IT professionals or business professionals in the technology industry who have started their career in the last eight years and clearly demonstrate strong potential for becoming a successful technology leader.

      Related Links

      Future Stars of Tech (UK): 2018 Shortlist

    • 2018

      R&D wins ACM Best Paper and Doctoral Consortium awards

      Members of the 2-IMMERSE consortium, including R&D engineer Maxine Glancy, received the ACM's 'Best Paper' award at TVX2018 conference for their paper, 'New Production Platform for Authoring Object-Based Multiscreen TV Viewing Experiences'.  

      Neelima Sunil from the University of Nottingham also won the ACM doctoral consortium award for 'Building Trust in Personal Data Driven Media Experiences', which was based upon research conducted whilst on placement with BBC R&D.   


      Related Links

      2-IMMERSE- Developing prototypes of multi screen experiences for 'any device' environments

      Twitter: ACM best paper award winners 2018

      Twitter:  ACM Doctoral Consortium award winnder 2018



    • 2018

      R&D and BBC Four create ‘Made By Machine: When AI Met The Archive”

      An experimental documentary co-produced by BBC R&D and BBC Four, 'Made By Machine: When AI Met the Archive' saw an AI editor designed by R&D delve into BBC Four's archives and create four ‘mini BBC Four’ programmes, without any human input: the first of its kind in the broadcasting industry.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D - Using AI to Search the Archives

      BBC R&D - The Making of 'Made By Machine: When AI Met The Archive"

    • 2018

      Low latency UHD live streams

      In September, R&D announced that it has solved the issue of delays between internet-delivered live streams and live broadcast TV, as seen during World Cup 2018. 

      Related Links

      BBC R&D - Latency in video streaming

      BBC R&D- Low Latency streaming with MPEG DASH

      BBC Media Centre- BBC solves iPlayer lag

      Broadband TV News

    • 2018

      R&D wins IBC 2018 awards for AI in Production and media innovation

      In September, R&D engineer Craig Wright accepted the 'IBC Best Conference Paper' award on behalf of his co-authors, for their paper on AI in production.  Head of BBC R&D Reality Labs David Johnston also accepted a joint 'IBC Special Award' for the BBC's "Damming the Nile" VR experience from BBC VR Hub and R&D’s ‘Civilisations AR’ app, in recognition of their innovative uses of these new technologies. 

      Related Links

      IBC 2018 - Best Conference Paper Award

      IBC 2018 Special Award

      BBC R&D- AI in Production


    • 2018

      Civilisations Festival wins Prix Italia award

      Part of the CultureUK programme the 'Civilisations Festival' - a partnership between the BBC R&D, BBC Arts and museums and art galleries across the UK, built around BBC Two’s 'Civilisations' series- won a Prix Italia for 'Cross Platform working', in recognition of the "huge cultural and educational value" of the collaboration.

      Related Links

      RAI announce Prix Italia 2018 award winners

      BBC R&D- Civilisations Festival

    • 2018

      'Nothing To Be Written' wins Raindance Festival VR award

      'Nothing To Be Written', a BBC Proms Virtual Reality experience delivered by BBC VR Hub, 59 Productions and the BBC Research & Development spatial audio team, won the 'Best UK Experience' award at the Raindance Immersive Stories (Virtual Reality) Festival 2018.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D:  Nothing To Be Written- An Immersive VR Soundscape from World War One

      Raindance Immersive Stories Festival 2018

    • 2018

      Civilisations AR wins Lovie award

      The 'Civilisations AR' app - produced by R&D and Nexus Studios- won a Lovie award in the 'Best Use of VR' category.

      Related Links

      2018 Lovie Award winners announced

    • 2018

      R&D engineers win SMPTE Digital Processing Medal and Fellowship

      The Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) awarded their prestigious Digital Processing Medal this year to R&D engineer Tim Borer, in recognition of his "significant contributions in the areas of image processing, particularly motion-aware video frame-rate conversion and video compression algorithms, including techniques used in phase correlation-based frame interpolation."

      SMPTE also bestowed a Fellowship, one of only 15, to R&D engineer John Fletcher.  Fellowships are awarded to "individuals who have, through their proficiency and contributions to the motion-picture, television, or related industries, attained an outstanding rank among engineers or executives in media and entertainment."

      Related Links

      SMPTE Announces Annual Awards recipients for 2018

    • 2018

      Live UHD streams on iPlayer win 'What HiFi?' innovation award

      The BBC's first-ever live 4k HDR streams on iPlayer, captured during this year's FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon tennis championships,  won the 'What Hi Fi?' award for Innovation at their 36th annual awards ceremony.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D: A Summer of Football and Tennis in Ultra HD

      'What HiFi?' awards 2018

    • 2018

      HbbTV awards for multiscreen experiences and HbbTV testing

      The 2-IMMERSE collaborative research partnership- which includes BBC R&D- won the HbbTV award for 'Best Multiscreen Experience'  for their Moto GP concept demonstrator.  It was also runner-up for the Judge's Grand Prix prize.  The jury felt that the demo was a “Very sophisticated application, HbbTV 2.0 and Multiscreen at the highest level".  

      Robert Foreman, R&D Technologist, also received 'Best Individual Contribution to the HbbTV Association' award, for his work on the HbbTV Test Suite Activity.  The jury said “Rob is one of the most significant contributors to the HbbTV test suite.”

      Related Links

      HbbTV Awards 2018

      2-IMMERSE project website

      2-IMMERSE Moto GP at home multiscreen experience (YouTube)

      HbbTV Test Suite

    • 2018

      Inclusive Boards name Ian Forrester in top 100 'Most Influential BAME Leaders in Technology' rankings

      Ian Forrester, R&D Development Producer, was named by Inclusive Boards as being one the top 100 most influential BAME leaders in technology in the UK, in a report published in the Financial Times.  

      The report was released as part of the launch of the Inclusive Tech Alliance membership body, which aims to increase diversity in the technology sector.

      Related Links

      FT Special Report: Ethnic Diversity in Technology

      Inclusive Boards website

      Inclusive Tech Alliance website

    • 2018

      Lauren Ward wins EPSRC Connected Nations Pioneers award

      Lauren Ward won the EPSRC Connected Nation Pioneers Award in the 'Making Digital Technology Work for People' category, for her work on the use of object-based broadcasting to reduce the barriers to television content experienced by people with hearing loss.

      Lauren is a PhD candidate from the University of Salford, who recently completed an internship with BBC R&D’s audio team.

    • 2018

      First public trials of 5G Augmented Reality app for Roman Baths

      R&D holds the first public trials of an AR app, distributed over an experimental 5G network at the Roman Baths in Bath, as part of the 5G Smart Tourism project to explore if a high-bandwidth, low-latency mobile network can enable high quality immersive experiences on mobile devices.

      Related Links

      5G Smart Tourism Trial at the Roman Baths

      5G Smart Tourism testbed

    • 2019

      'Nothing to Be Written' wins UploadVR award

      The BBC Prom's World War One-set Virtual Reality experience, 'Nothing To Be Written', which features a binaural soundtrack mixed by R&D, won UploadVR's 'Best Mobile VR Experience' award.

      Related Links

      Nothing to be Written: WW1 in an Immersive VR Soundscape

      Upload VR awards 2018

    • 2019

      Katy Noland wins TVNewsCheck’s 'Technology Women To Watch' award

      Katy Noland, Senior R&D Engineer wins a 'Technology Women to Watch' award, from TVNewsCheck's 'Women in Technology' industry awards.  This prize recognises ‘women who show the promise of contributing significantly to advancing their industry technologically’.

      Related Links

      R&D Staff profile- Katy Noland

      TVN Taps A Tech Trio Worth Watching

    • 2019

      R&D launches Orkney 5G radio trials

      BBC R&D announces a world-first trial on Stronsay, Orkney Islands, which enables participants to receive live BBC radio over experimental 5G mobile connections.

      BBC R&D is a partner in the 5G RuralFirst testbed, which is exploring how 5G connectivity could benefit businesses and communities in remote areas. 

      Related Links

      BBC announces 5G radio trials in Orkney Islands

      BBC Media Centre: 5G trials in Orkney extended

      5G RuralFirst testbed

    • 2019

      R&D South Lab moves to Lighthouse

      Research & Development moves its South Lab to the Lighthouse building, adjacent to Broadcast Centre at White City Place, London, as Centre House is decommissioned.

    • 2019

      Makers Academy name Misa Ogura in first 'Women in Software Power List'

      Misa Ogura, R&D Software Engineeer, was included in the first annual 'Women in Software Powerlist' announced by software development academy Makers.  The Powerlist recognises women rising stars in the UK's software development sector, as well as aiming to make female role models more visible.

      Related Link:

      Makers Academy: Presenting the Women in Software Power List 2019

    • 2019

      Civilisations AR app wins Peabody Futures of Media Award

      The 'Civilisations AR' app, developed by BBC R&D and Nexus Studios, won a Peabody Futures of Media Award for outstanding digital storytelling, in their 'Mobile' category.

      The Peabody Futures of Media Awards "celebrate the spirit of innovation and the most powerful narratives in an ever-changing digital landscape".

      Related Links:

      BBC R&D: Civilisations AR- Bringing the collection into your home

      Civilisations AR- Nexus Studios

      Winners of the Peabody Future of Media Awards 2018


    • 2019

      World Cup live UHD streaming on iPlayer wins Connie award

      The BBC's first-ever live UHD-HDR broadcasts on BBC iPlayer, captured during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, won a Silver 'Connie' award in the Premier TV category.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D: A Summer of Football and Tennis in Ultra HD

      The Connies 2019



    • 2019

      FA Cup broadcast in UHD HDR for first time

    • 2019

      5G: Rory Cellan-Jones makes first live news report over 5G network

      BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones reported on the launch of EE's 5G network launch from Covent Garden, using that same network - the first time a 5G network has been used by a production team for a live TV programme. 

      R&D’s Technology Transfer team helped co-ordinate the collaboration between the BBC and BT that resulted in the delivery of Rory's report.

      Related Links

      BBC Media Centre press release

      BBC News: 5G: EE launches UK's next-generation mobile network

      BBC News: Rory's first 5G live broadcast

    • 2019

      New Article Formats wins BBC News 'Best Digital Innovation' award

      R&D's work on 'New Article Formats', led by IRFS' Tristan Ferne, won 'Best Digital Innovation' at the 2019 BBC News Awards held in London.  Judges selected winning entries based on "incredible teamwork, creativity, innovation and real dedication to making BBC News the best in the business".

      Related Links: 

      BBC R&D: Reinventing the News

    • 2019

      Interactive Blue Peter Garden VR game launched

      The BBC launched Blue Peter Garden Explorer, a VR game for children developed by BBC R&D with BBC Children’s Blue Peter team.  Through 360° video and interactive navigation, Blue Peter fans can explore the famous Garden from the comfort of their own home.

      Related Links

      BBC R&D: The Blue Peter Garden Explorer

      CBBC: Virtual Blue Peter Garden game


    • 2019

      BBC Click makes interactive 1000th episode with object-based media tools

      BBC Click’s 1,000th show is the BBC’s first full-length interactive programme, letting users choose how they want to watch it.  It was produced using  BBC Research & Development's StoryKit object-based media tools and was released on BBC Taster on 5 July 2019.


      Related Links

      Click 1,000 on BBC Taster

      BBC R&D: Creating a Personalised and Interactive Episode of BBC Click with StoryKit

      5 July 2019: BBC Breakfast  (2h:58m:47s - 3h:06m:15s)

      5 July 2019: Spencer Kelly on Radio 4 Today  (2h:57m:12s - 2h:59m:50s)

      5 July 2019: BBC Media Centre press release

      BBC News- Click 1,000: How the pick-your-own-path episode was made

      BBC Click announces interactive 1,000th episode:

      30 April 2019: BBC Media Centre press release 

      TVBEurope: BBC announces first full-length interactive programme 

      Advanced TV: BBC Click’s 1000th episode will be fully interactive

      Radio Times: BBC to follow in Bandersnatch’s footsteps with new interactive TV experiment

    • 2019

      Personalisable social media documentary made with object-based media tools

      ‘Instagramification’ is a documentary about one of the world’s biggest social media platforms.  Each viewer experiences the documentary based on a combination of their mood, personal preferences and the choices they make; seeing a slightly different, personalised version of the story. 

      'Instagramification' was devised and produced by Spirit Media, an independent production company, using R&D's StoryFormer authoring tool.  It launched on BBC Taster on 5 August 2019.

      Related Links:

      Instagramification on BBC Taster

      BBC R&D: 'Making a Personalised, Data-Driven Documentary'

      TVB Europe

      Broadband TV News (article paywalled)

    • 2019

      Chris Poole wins HbbTV 'Best Individual Contribution' award

      Chris Poole was honoured by the HbbTV Association with a 'Best Individual Contribution' award, in recognition of being a "huge supporter of the development and use of HbbTV in the UK".