Only a lucky few will get to watch the World Cup in Rio. For the rest of us, we’ll have to stay up (or get up) at all sorts of odd hours to catch the action in Brazil. Inevitably, there will also be matches that clash with work or other commitments, but with more coverage than ever before on TV, internet, mobile and radio, here’s everything you need to know about how to keep up with England’s progress. If you're buying a new TV for the footie, here are the best deals we can find. And if you want to listen while you work or sleep, try: How to listen live to FIFA World Cup 2014: best apps and websites for listening to the World Cup.
How to watch the World Cup: on TV
Every game will be broadcast on free-to-air terrestrial TV, which means you can watch all matches on BBC or ITV – none are exclusive to Sky or BT Sport. Also see: 5 best free apps for FIFA World Cup 2014
How to watch the World Cup: Online
The BBC will has a dedicated World Cup page on its website, which will be accessible from PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
To watch matches live, you’ll need to go to the iPlayer page in your browser, or use the iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8 app.
Similarly, you’ll be able to watch games shown on ITV live via the ITV Player website, or via the iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8 app.
As well as live matches, there will be extended coverage including analysis, highlights, news and interactive features. BBC says all this content will be “available across any device at any time”. In reality, you will have only a 7 after each match to watch on iPlayer (see below).
England matches: World Cup TV schedule
England’s is in Group D and will play the following matches in a bid to get through to the knockout stages:
- Saturday 14th June, 11pm, BBC One: England vs Italy
- Thursday 19th June, 8pm, ITV: England vs Uruguay
- Tuesday 24th June, 5pm, ITV: England vs Costa Rica
All three matches can, of course, be watched in HD if you have a TV or set-top box capable of receiving Freeview HD or Freesat HD.
If England makes it through to the quarter-finals the match will be broadcast on ITV, leaving the BBC with first choice for the semi-finals. Both channels will show the final on 13th July.
How to catch up on World Cup matches you've missed
As you might expect, you can watch any game you missed on BBC iPlayer or ITV Player depending on which channel broadcast the match.
Can you watch the World Cup in 4K?
Sony and FIFA have talked a lot about how the 2014 World Cup will be a “launchpad for 4K Ultra-High Definition” and have promised to provide at least three full fixtures in 4K, but it’s very unlikely anyone will be able to watch live matches in 4K at home in the UK.
The BBC has announced it will trial UHD broadcasts from the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The closed trial will simultaneously broadcast over terrestrial TV and the internet, via a satellite link from Brazil to the UK. Unless you can get access to one of the BBC R&D facilities, you’re out of luck and will have to live with so-called Full HD on BBC One HD or ITV HD.
If you happen to be in Rio and unable to get to those particular matches you might be able to watch in 4K if you can get to one of the 65in UHD TVs which will be placed around the city.
How to listen to the World Cup: on radio
Between them, BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT will broadcast live commentary on every match. You can listen to 5 Live via your web browser as well as listening through the dedicated iPlayer Radio app for iPhone and Android. Naturally, you can also tune in AM on medium wave if you’re in the car on 909/693kHz or on DAB if you have digital radio in your car or at home. If you want to listen via your TV for some reason, R5L is on Freeview – and Freesat - channel 705, Sky 0105, Virgin Media 905, and UPC Ireland 911.
talkSPORT can be found on DAB too, or on AM at 1053, 1071, 1089 or 1107kHz. On TV, you’ll find it on Freeview channel 723, Sky 0108 or Virgin Media 927. For more on listening to the World Cup, see How to listen live to the World Cup
How to watch the World Cup: On a smartphone or tablet via 3G or 4G
You can watch live TV via the BBC iPlayer and ITV Player apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, but bear in mind that this will quickly eat through your data allowance if you’re on 3G or 4G.
You can also watch all the matches live using the free TVCatchup app, which streams live TV from Freeview channels. Plus, if you're using a desktop browser you can take advantage of TVCatchup's Desktop Player, which lets you watch and record live TV. Just head to TVCatchup.com/record.
Simplestream's TVPlayer is a similar free app, which works across desktop, mobile and tablet, and supports push notifications to keep you up to date on all the major sporting events.
It’s best to use video-streaming apps on Wi-Fi if possible. As has been pointed out in the comments below, you can also buy a Wi-Fi TV box which works with certain smartphones and tablets, allowing you to watch matches without needing an internet connection. See our EyeTV Mobile review and also our Hauppauge MyTV 2Go review.