Planet Earth 2 starring everyone’s favourite nature guru David Attenborough was the BBC’s first 4K show, broadcast to our tellies in glorious Ultra HD in 2016. And now in 2017, you can still watch Planet Earth 2 in 4K with the newly-released Blu-ray. Here’s all you need to know about streaming and watching Planet Earth 2.
Planet Earth 2: What is it all about?
Think footage of animals doing animal things in their native environment. Be that mating, hunting, killing each other and whatever else animals do in their spare time.
Wonderful narration, absolutely stunning footage, Attenborough’s calming voice, getting to see nature at its best and for showing off your swanky new TV ─ Planet Earth had it all and then some.
Planet Earth 2 has the same six-episode format, each one an hour long and filmed in a variety of settings, including jungles (urban and tree-based ones), deserts and grasslands. The focus is on “the extraordinary ways animals survive within them”, the BBC says.
As the follow-up to the 2006 show, there is a lot of pressure for Planet Earth 2 to be as good. It was, after all, a global success and one of the best factual programs of all time. And a decade is a long time for expectation to build.
With the BBC’s Natural History Unit at the helm, we can only imagine it will be absolutely stunning though. Here’s hoping there has been no ‘dumbing down’ of the script, as seen in more recent BBC nature programs.
Planet Earth 2: Just how epic are we talking?
The BBC and other teams involved made 117 filming trips to 40 countries just to secure the footage. Now that is a lot of time spent in airports. One bit shows 50 million red crabs heading towards the sea. Another shows a bird trying to hatch an egg, even though it has been half-eaten. Nature can be cruel, too, remember.
Planet Earth 2: How do I watch it?
If you missed Planet Earth 2 in its initial broadcast run in 2016, fear not. There are a few ways you can catch up with this awesome series.
BBC occasionally repeats Planet Earth 2 episodes, which means you can record them on any streaming boxes you may have hooked up to your TV. And the good news is, when these episodes are repeated, they also show up on the Beeb’s iPlayer service. This allows you to download or stream shows on your mobile device, be it Android or iOS, as well as on your laptop or smart TV.
However, bear in mind that iPlayer shows are only available for a month after broadcast and will self-delete a short period after you begin watching them.
If you want the whole Planet Earth 2 series to keep and treasure, you can buy a digital copy of individual episodes or the whole series over on the Beeb’s website. This costs £9.99 in SD or £12.99 in HD, or from £1.89 per episode.
You can also grab Planet Earth 2 on DVD from the likes of Amazon right now, for around £15.
Planet Earth 2: What about 4K?
Planet Earth 2 was filmed in 4K so it makes sense to try and enjoy the series in all of its pixel-peeping Ultra HD goodness.
The good news is you can pick up the series on Blu-Ray for £19 at the time of writing. This disc features every episode in full 4K, so you can enjoy those nasty kills and weird bird dances the way they were intended.
Planet Earth 2: What do I need to watch 4K TV?
The most obvious addition is a 4K-capable television. Even though the amount of 4K content available is still limited, 4K television prices have dropped nicely.
You can pay very little, but a bad 4K television will look worse than a good 1080p one as there is more to a good picture than just detail. We would suggest the likes of the Panasonic TX-40DX600B if you want genuine quality for under £500.
Got around £1,000 to spend? You now have HDR available, a technology that really makes the picture quality even better though it is unclear if Planet Earth 2 will use it. We are currently testing the Samsung UE55KS7000, which is an absolute blinder of a TV. Great smart TV features, fantastic picture quality, looks the part and has excellent build quality.
Then you need a solid broadband connection, if you’re planning to stream a 4K show rather than watch it on disc. Netflix recommends 25Mbps for 4K media streaming and Planet Earth may be in a similar ballpark. It may be worth speaking to your provider to see how much extra it would cost to up your speed if you are well below that threshold.
The big point is that you need 25Mbps spare. If you have 25Mbps but someone comes home and starts streaming 4K in their room, you will have a problem.
Alternatively you can buy a Blu-Ray player such as a dedicated device or go the games console route for a touch of gaming. Both the PS4, Xbox One and PS4 Pro feature Blu-Ray players.
As for a 4K Blu-Ray player, your most obvious and one of the cheapest options is the Xbox One S, a smaller version of the Xbox One that has just such a thing built in. It helps it can also play games, be used as a web browser and has other useful features to help justify the cost.
Check out our guide on streaming 4K video in your home for more info.
Planet Earth 2 trailer: A glimpse at the show
It is probably far easier if we show you what to expect from Planet Earth 2 so here is the ‘official extended trailer’ latest trailer, which has been viewed millions of times since it was published on YouTube on the 14th of October, 2016. People really love animals, huh?