DIRECTV has announced that it will broadcast this month’s 2021 national college football championship game in 4K.
The game, which will be played on January 11 at 8 p.m. ET at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, will pit the winner of today’s Alabama-Notre Dame Rose Bowl game (4 p.m. ET on ESPN) vs the winner of tonight’s Clemson-Ohio State Sugar Bowl game (8 p.m. ET on ESPN.)
ESPN will produce the January 11 championship game and simulcast it in HD on the national ESPN channel. DIRECTV will deliver the 4K broadcast on its channel 105.
It’s unclear if other pay TV providers will offer the 4K broadcast as well. But Comcast and Optimum carried ESPN’s regular season college football broadcasts in 4K, and therefore would seem likely to air the national championship in the format as well.
For 4K videophiles, the ESPN broadcast of the championship game means it will be available in ‘native 4K’ — the game will be produced and aired in 4K rather than ‘upconverted’ from HD to the format. In contrast, Fox’s Thursday Night Football 4K broadcasts are produced in 1080p and then upconverted to 4K.
The native 4K broadcast should feature a smoother and sharper resolution than one that is upconverted to 4K.
There is no indication that any other bowl game this season will be available in 4K, upconverted or not. Programming guides for pay TV providers that offer live 4K events, such as DIRECTV, FuboTV, Optimum and Comcast, do not list any of the games as being available in 4K as of today.
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— Phillip Swann