By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, when did Peacock start showing the USFL games in 4K? I thought they weren’t doing sports in 4K yet? I saw a 4K tag on the Saturday game between Pittsburgh and New Jersey. — Tom, Akron, Ohio.
Tom, when Peacock will start streaming live sports in 4K – and why it hasn’t yet — is one of the TV tech industry’s biggest mysteries. NBC Sports officials have said it’s under consideration for this year but won’t provide a possible launch date or events that would be in 4K.
The mystery deepened last week when Peacock’s episode description for the Pittsburgh-New Jersey USFL game at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday (June 17) included a 4K tag. I received a handful of reader e-mails asking whether this was the beginning of Peacock and live sports in 4K.
Peacock’s episode description for Saturday’s USFL game. Note the 4K tag.
So your favorite TV Answer Man did what journalists are supposed to do: I asked someone who should know whether it was true. (As opposed to assuming it was true or relying on an anonymous poster on Reddit saying it.)
“It will not be available in 4K,” NBC Sports spokesman Matt Poltoski said Friday night via e-mail. “Will work on getting that language updated.”
The 4K tag was a mistake, or at least that’s the official line. And if you notice, the replay description for the Pittsburgh-New Jersey game now does not include the 4K tag. Because the game was not in 4K, NBC says.
A few readers told me on Saturday that they noticed a HDR alert on their TV screens when they started watching the game on Peacock. My educated guess is that the game was in 1080p HDR, which would explain the alert. But, of course, it’s always possible that NBC’s production crew was tinkering with some 4K equipment and not telling anyone at the corporate level.
If that’s the case, we should see 4K sports from Peacock in the near future. If it’s not, the mystery just deepens.
Tom, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann