Comcast said today that it’s now uncertain if it will broadcast next month’s NFL Super Bowl from Miami in 4K.
The cable operator’s Twitter page said this week that it would carry it in 4K in response to a question from a subscriber on Twitter.
“For the first time the Super Bowl will be broadcast in 4K Ultra High Definition,” tweeted @Comcastcares, the company’s customer service page.
But a Comcast press contact said this morning that the @Comcastcares rep was operating on “inaccurate information.”
Comcast had a similar miscommunication prior to Fox’s first Thursday Night Football broadcast in September. The cable operator said it would carry the games in 4K, but didn’t when the games started.
The cable operator also recently revealed that it will show the LSU-Clemson college football championship game (Monday, January 13, 8 p.m. ET) in 4K. To watch either event in 4K, Comcast subscribers will need a 4K-enabled set-top from the cable operator as well as a 4K TV.
Fox has the broadcast rights to Super Bowl LIV, which will be played February 2, 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The network plans to produce the event in 1080p and ‘upscale’ it to 4K via a stream on its Fox Sports apps.
Upscaling is the process when one video format is converted to another. In this case, Fox will take the 1080p HDR signal and convert it to a 4K format, presumably 4K HDR. (This is what Fox did during the 2019 season with the 4K display of Thursday Night Football; the Thursday games were not produced in 4K, but they were upscaled to 4K.)
Upscaling 4K is not as good as what’s called, native 4K, which means the original event was produced in 4K, and broadcast or streamed in 4K as well. Still, the 4K broadcast should be an improvement over 1080i or 1080p HD, and it will mark the first time the Super Bowl will be broadcast in 4K.
The Fox 4K stream will be available on such streaming devices as Roku and Apple TV. Comcast will also use the 4K upscale and distribute it to its subscribers.
Altice (Optimum), the cable operator, and fuboTV, the live streaming service, also plan to offer 4K broadcasts of the Super Bowl. DIRECTV is also expected to do so, but has yet to make an official announcement.
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— Phillip Swann