Nearly half (49%) of those planning to watch the Olympic Games said they will “probably” or “definitely” use the BBC’s red button service to watch the action in Rio, according to research commissioned by Snell Advanced Media (Sam).

This would represent a slight increase in use of the service compared to the London 2012 games, with 44% of respondents to Sam’s survey stating they used the red button for at least some of their viewing of the Games four years ago.

Some 15% of those who will watch the Olympics said they would want to view the games on an online streaming site, with nearly two thirds (63%) of Olympic viewers planning to watch the Games live on BBC television channels and 41% on the corporation’s TV highlight programmes.

UK viewers say they are more likely to watch the opening ceremony live than any one of the actual sports themselves, with 54% of the Olympic viewing public planning to do so - and 39% wanting to do so in 4K.

Sam executive vice president and general manager media software solutions Neil Maycock said: “Our research serves to highlight that despite the hype surrounding new media platforms, British audiences still place great value on viewing landmark content on more traditional broadcast services.

“A large number of British Olympic fans are keen to watch the Games in as higher quality resolution as possible, according to our research. 

“The BBC has confirmed that its 4K plans for Rio will involve internal experimentation only, and will not feature any consumer-facing content.

“There is clearly an appetite for these tests to prove successful, so that the technology can be used at other future major televised sporting events, especially where other Western broadcasters such as NBC will be offering selected events in ultra-high definition to their US audience.”

The research was commissioned in conjunction with YouGov and polled 2,077 UK adults.