Comcast has announced at its web site that it will offer an extensive lineup of programming in 4K, including college football and NFL games as well as baseball’s playoffs and World Series.
The cable operator says it will carry 28 college football games, 38 English Premier League soccer games, 11 NFL Thursday Night Football games, up to 14 MLB playoff and World Series games, and this month’s U.S. Open golf tournament in 4K.
Comcast does not provide further scheduling specifics, but the 4K coverage is expected to begin with tomorrow’s Notre Dame-Duke college football game at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The 4K college football games, which will extend from September 12 through January 11, 2021, will be produced by ESPN, Fox and NBC; the U.S. Open 4K coverage, which will include a ‘featured hole’ from September 17 through September 20, will be produced by NBC; the 4K NFL games, which will go from October 8 through December 17, will be produced by Fox which will also do the MLB playoff and World Series games. The 4K English Premier League games, which also start tomorrow, will extend until May 23 with coverage from NBC.
It’s unclear which games, if any, will be produced in ‘native 4K,’ meaning the network will produce the event in 4K as well as broadcast it in the format. Fox has previously ‘upscaled’ its live 4K HDR sports broadcasts.
Upscaling is the process when one video format is converted to another. Fox takes the 1080p HDR signal and converts it to a 4K format. Upscaling 4K is not as good as native 4K, but the inclusion of HDR can offer heightened colors and vividness.
To watch 4K on Comcast, a video subscriber who owns a 4K TV will need an Xfinity X1 set-top (XG1v4 or Xi6 model) while Xfinity Flex (Xi6) customers must have a Xi6 model set-top. Customers can use their Xfinity Voice Remote to say “4K” (or search “4K”) to be taken to a 4K UHD landing page that displays all available 4K programming.
When the 4K-enabled set-top is connected, it will automatically set to the highest possible video resolution for your television, including 4K. You can check the resolution on the X1 box by saying ‘device settings’ into the Xfinity voice remote, then select ‘video display.’
Comcast’s announcement is more good news for 4K TV owners who have been without live 4K sporting events since sports returned in July following the Coronavirus outbreak in March. FuboTV this week announced it will stream college football and NFL games in 4K this season while DIRECTV will kickoff 4K coverage with two college football games tomorrow.
Note: This year will mark the first time the World Series will be available in 4K.
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— Phillip Swann