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Why So Little 4K On DIRECTV?

Q. I got a 4K TV for Christmas and I have DIRECTV. Do they have any live shows in 4K this month? — Pete, Naples, Florida.

Pete, the answer is yes, but the lineup is a bit sparse. As you may know, there is a growing amount of Video on Demand programming in 4K on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, but live shows in 4K are still few and far between. Broadcasters are still reluctant to invest in live 4K productions, apparently because they feel that consumer demand is still limited. Consequently, TV services that air live 4K, such as DIRECTV and Dish, often have little to offer.

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For instance, this month, DIRECTV’s live 4K channel, which is 106, will air eight NBA games and four English Premier League soccer games in the new picture format. And that’s it. No NFL playoffs. No hockey. No golf. No primetime dramas or comedies in 4K. Nope, just some basketball and soccer.

Considering that millions of consumers are spending thousands of dollars on new 4K sets, you would think the lineup would be more attractive. But welcome to the often frustrating world of 4K TV.

That said, here is a list of the games that will be broadcast live in 4K on DIRECTV during the month of January, starting with this Saturday’s game; four other NBA games, and one English Premier League match, aired in 4K earlier this month. (Note: The NBA games will be in 4K HDR; the soccer games will just be in 4K.)

NBA
January 12, 8:30 p.m. ET
San Antonio at Oklahoma City

January 14, 8:30 p.m. ET
Charlotte at San Antonio

January 21, 3 p.m. ET
Orlando at Atlanta

January 28, 10:30 p.m. ET
Atlanta at Los Angeles Clippers

English Premier League Soccer:
January 13, 11:15 a.m. ET
Tottenham at Manchester United

January 19, 12: 15 p.m. ET
Arsenal at Chelsea

January 30, 2:45 p.m. ET
Liverpool at Leicester City

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— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1549 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

7 Comments on Why So Little 4K On DIRECTV?

  1. Directv 4K is not worth it. It takes forever even to boot up. I’ve call Directv to ask why I was told it’s a known problem. Programs are very limited unless you like skiing and surfing
    My contact is up in October, going back to regular. I’ll get my 4K from Netflix and Prime

  2. In the UK we’re getting these US shows and others in UHD:- Ray Donovan, Madam Secretary, Good Doctor, Hawaii 5-0, McGuyver, NCIS, Navy Seals.

    Do these get shown in UHD in the US?

  3. Every year and every big sporting event brings a release about all the technology the broadcasting network plans to use, but even by those standards, CBS seems to be really going all-out for February’s Super Bowl LIII. For their 20th Super Bowl broadcast, the network is planning to use 115 cameras overall, but it’s the 8K cameras and plans to use augmented reality graphics that perhaps particularly stand out in their release:

    For the first time ever on any network at a live sporting event, CBS’ Super Bowl LIII virtual plan includes the use of a live, wireless handheld camera showing augmented reality graphics and up-close camera tracking on the field. This will allow the camera to get closer to these virtual graphics in a way that gives viewers different perspectives and angles including never –before-seen field level views of these graphics.

    CBS will utilize four cameras (including the SkyCam) with live augmented reality graphics, plus an additional 10 cameras with trackable first-down-line technology. In all, 14 cameras creating virtual graphic elements that are completely manufactured will seamlessly blend in to the real environment of the broadcast.

    For the first time ever on any network in the United States, CBS will use multiple 8K cameras with a unique, highly-constructed engineering solution to provide viewers with even more dramatic close-up views of the action from the endzone including possible game changing plays along the goal lines and end lines.
    Beyond that, they’ll feature 16 4K cameras, 28 pylon cameras and 50-plus total end zone cameras, and plenty of super slo motion cameras. That’s a whole lot. And while using these super-high-resolution cameras may not make much of an impact for the average viewer (there are plenty of people who don’t have 4K TVs, let alone 8K), those who do have flashy new TVs should get a fair bit out of this. Other elements like the pylon cameras and super slo motion should be useful regardless of what sort of TV (or screen) people are watching on. Of course, there’s always the challenge of not getting too wrapped up in fancy new toys, and the broadcast’s usage of augmented reality graphics in particular will be interesting to keep an eye on, as using those too heavily could spark some backlash from those who just want to watch the game. But CBS is certainly bringing plenty of technology to the table here, and we’ll see how they use it.

  4. TV Answer Man // January 11, 2019 at 9:04 am // Reply

    That doesn’t mean the game will be available in 4K.

  5. Very true, but leaves possibility

  6. CBS Sports To Use 4K, 8K Cameras For Super Bowl LIII Broadcast For the first time in its history, CBS Sports will deploy multiple 4K and 8K cameras at the Super Bowl to provide close-ups and alternative viewing angles for NFL fans. The cameras will provide additional live game camera angles, and give the production the ability to replay key moments of the game in a super slo-motion and an HD cut-out with zoomed-in perspectives with minimal resolution loss.

  7. Sadly, this lineup seems much better than what Dish is offering. I haven’t found a single event or show in 4K since the college football regular season ended.

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