DIRECTV, Comcast and Optimum will air this Saturday’s NFC Wild Card game between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams in 4K, the pay TV operators have announced at their web sites.
DIRECTV will deliver the 4K broadcast on its channel 105 while Optimum will show it on channel 200. Comcast X1 video subscribers who have a 4K-enabled set-top (XG1v4 or Xi6 model) can say ‘4K’ into the Xfinity voice remote to display the listing before the game. (Xfinity Flex customers must have a Xi6 model device from the cable operator.)
The Wild Card game, which is scheduled for kickoff Saturday at 4:40 p.m. ET, will be produced by Fox and simulcast in high-def on the Fox network.
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.
Dish, Verizon and FuboTV are also likely candidates to offer the Wild Card game in 4K. The TV Answer Man will report back here if we get more information from pay TV providers.
Fox is also likely to offer a 4K stream on the Fox Sports app.
The Wild Card game comes two days before ESPN’s 4K broadcast of the Alabama-Ohio State college football championship on January 11. Comcast and DIRECTV have confirmed they will offer the championship game in 4K.
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— Phillip Swann