Q. I’m thinking of buying a 4K TV to watch all the March Madness games. Is this a good time to buy one? — David, Chicago.
Every year, scores of millions watch the annual college basketball tournament, known as March Madness, and they like to view it on the best set possible. In addition, retailers are heavily promoting 4K TVs now so shoppers will be bombarded with attractive-sounding 4K offers when they go into stores this week, or peruse their favorite web site.
However, buying a 4K TV for the specific purpose of watching March Madness could be a mistake.
Why do I say that?
For starters, CBS and the Turner-owned TNT and TBS and Tru, which will air the games, have offered no indication that they will be available in 4K. Considering that the first games (the play-in games on March 13 and 14) are just one week away, it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the participating networks will air any of them in 4K.
Second, if there is a late announcement that a handful of March Madness games will be broadcast in 4K, the odds that you will be able to see them in the new picture format are somewhat slim.
Based on how NBC handled the 4K distribution of the 2018 Winter Olympics coverage, CBS and Turner would likely only offer them to the two pay TV providers which have previously aired live 4K events. And that would be Dish and DIRECTV. If you’re not a subscriber to the two satellite services, you would be out of luck.
So if you’re thinking of buying a new TV — specifically a 4K TV — just to watch March Madness, think again.
Now that I’ve said that, there is one reason why you might want to buy a 4K TV before next week’s games begin. If you were thinking seriously about buying a 4K set anyway, well, go ahead and buy it now. If it’s a top-rated 4K TV, you will get a very good picture for the game — and you will be ready for the future when more programming is available in 4K.
But if you’re a budget-conscious consumer who already owns a great HDTV, you probably can hold off on buying a new TV right now.
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— Phillip Swann