DIRECTV last night aired the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Vegas Golden Knights hockey match from Las Vegas in 4K HDR, the first time it has offered a live 4K HDR broadcast, according to the satcaster.

(Although AT&T says last night was DIRECTV’s first 4K HDR broadcast — and the first by a pay TV operator in the United States — it’s possible that the satcaster has been testing HDR with its live 4K for at least a few weeks. See our TV Answer Man story from late October. )

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AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, said in a press release that the satellite TV service will also air 13 NBA games in 4K HDR this season, starting with the Cleveland Cavaliers-Milwaukee Bucks game on December 19.

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In addition to NHL and NBA broadcasts in 4K HDR, DIRECTV will also air the following events in 4K HDR:

* The University of Connecticut-Duquesne women’s college basketball game on December 22 at 7 p.m. ET;
* The Rose Parade, live from Los Angeles, on January 1 at 11 a.m. ET;
* The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 14th annual ‘Christmas Rocks’ concert on Monday, December 18, at 8 p.m. ET.

All 4K HDR events will air live on DIRECTV’s live 4K channel, channel 106.

HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range, can add more vivid and realistic colors to a 4K broadcast as well as greater contrast.

To watch the live 4K channel on DIRECTV, you must get a compatible 4K TV, a DIRECTV HD DVR54 Genie System (or above), and installation of the Genie by a DIRECTV technician.

DIRECTV has changed the minimum package required to get its live 4K channel to Select so more subscribers could access it as well as the satcaster’s two other 4K channels, which are devoted to recurring programming and Video on Demand.

However, the NBA and NHL games require an XTRA package or above.

Last note: If your 4K TV does not support 4K HDR, the broadcast will still display in regular 4K.

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— Phillip Swann