DIRECTV, Comcast, FuboTV and Optimum plan to air this Thursday night’s game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 4K.
This will be the first NFL game in 4K this season. Fox, which has the Thursday Night Football broadcast rights, plans to offer 11 TNF in 4K this season.
The games are also expected to be available in 4K on the Fox Sports app, with the proper credentials (user name and password from your pay TV service.). However, it’s unclear which streaming devices will be compatible with the 4K stream on the app.
Fox last year offered 4K streams of Thursday night NFL games on the Apple TV 4k, Roku 4K-enabled devices (Premiere+, Ultra, Streaming Stick +, Roku 4K TVs), and Fire TV 4K streaming devices and select Smart TVs (Amazon Fire TV Stick, Cube, and Insignia and Toshiba brand Fire 4K TVs.) But The TV Answer Man has received e-mails from viewers saying that the 4K broadcasts of some 2020 college football games have not been available on the app on some of those devices.
The TV Answer Man has asked Fox for an update and will report back here if we get one.
DIRECTV will offer the game in 4K on its channel 105, one of two channels it devotes to live 4K events. Comcast’s 4K coverage of the game will be on its On Demand service. You can see the listing by saying ‘4K’ in your Xfinity voice remote on the day of the broadcast. (Note: You will need a Xfinity 4K-enabled set-top.)
With FuboTV, you will need a 4K-enabled streaming device that has the FuboTV app, or a TV that’s 4K-enabled and carries the FuboTV app. However, the live streaming service, which costs $65 a month, does not carry all Fox affiliates. If FuboTV does not carry the Fox affiliate in your market, you will not be able to see the 4K or HD broadcast of the games on FuboTV. Here is a list of the Fox affiliates that are available on Fubo.
Optimum will air the game in 4K on its channel 200.
Dish and Verizon are also expected to offer Thursday night’s game in 4K, but that has not been confirmed as of today.
Fox produces its NFL coverage in 1080p and ‘upscales’ it to a 4K broadcast as opposed to shooting the event in 4K and transmitting in the same format. 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.
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.
The remainder of the Thursday Night Football telecasts will be available in high-def on Fox, NFL Network, Amazon Prime and Twitch.
Here is the list of Thursday Night Football games that will be available this season in 4K:
Bucs vs. Bears (October 8)
Chiefs vs. Bills (October 15)
Giants vs. Eagles (October 22)
Falcons vs. Panthers (October 29)
Packers vs. 49ers (November 5)
Colts vs. Titans (November 12)
Cardinals vs. Seahawks (November 19)
Cowboys vs. Ravens (December 3)
Patriots vs. Rams (December 10)
Chargers vs. Raiders (December 17)
Vikings vs. Saints (December 25)
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— Phillip Swann