Q. I was very impressed with the 4K picture on last night’s Rams-Seahawks game. The picture was very, very realistic with great colors. Will any of today’s playoff games be in 4K? I want more. — Frankie, Warwick, Rhode Island.
Frankie, I received several e-mails last night from readers commenting on how good the 4K picture looked for the Seattle Seahawks-Los Angeles Rams playoff game, which was won by LA, 30-20.
I also watched the game and was just as impressed. Although Fox produced the event, which means it was upscaled from 1080p HDR to 4K HDR, the images were more vivid and detailed than the high-def simulcast. Fox’s 4K upscales don’t always produce a better picture, but it certainly did last night, in my living room, at least.
As to your question, today’s playoff games are not available in 4K, upscaled or not. In fact, as of now, the networks have no announced plans for additional playoff games in 4K, not even the Super Bowl. That could change in the coming days so the TV Answer Man will monitor this situation and report back here if we get more information.
The next big football game that will be in 4K will be tomorrow night’s college football championship game between Alabama and Ohio State. ESPN will produce the event so that means it will be ‘native 4K’ rather than upscaled 4K. Native 4K is when the game is produced in 4K at the site and transmitted to the home in 4K as well. Videophiles say native 4K delivers a far better picture than upscaled 4K so 4K owners can test it out tomorrow night.
Unfortunately, Comcast, DIRECTV and Optimum are the only TV providers that will air the championship contest in 4K. And unlike Fox, which offers a 4K stream on its Fox Sports app, ESPN will not provide the game in 4K over the Net, via an app or web site.
ESPN’s 4K feed will also be the SkyCam view, which comes from a camera system suspended over the field, and controlled by a computer. In addition, the 4K feed will only include crowd noise, and no play-by-play or commentary from the ESPN announcing crew.
Last note: Here is the TV schedule for today’s NFL playoff games:
Baltimore at Tennessee, 1:05 p.m. ET on ABC
Chicago at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. ET on CBS, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann