Several pay TV providers, including DIRECTV, Comcast, Dish, Fubo TV, Verizon and Optimum, plan to offer this week’s Big East college basketball tournament in 4K.
Fox, which is producing the event, is also expected to offer the games in 4K on its Fox Sports app.
The tournament is scheduled to start Wednesday with three first round games: Marquette vs. Georgetown at 3 p.m. ET; Butler vs. Xavier at 6 p.m. ET; and DePaul vs. Providence at 9 p.m. ET. (FS1 will simulcast the games in high-def.) Then, four games are on tap on Thursday, with two semi-final contests on Friday at 6 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET and the tournament championship on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET. All games will be available in 4K. (Fox, and not FSI, will simulcast the championship game.)
Fox produces its sporting events, including NFL games, 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 takes the 1080p signal and converts it to a 4K format.
Upscaling 4K is different than what’s called, native 4K, which means the original event was produced in 4K, and broadcast or streamed in 4K as well. This is how ESPN produces its 4K sportscasts.
While some videophiles prefer native 4K over upscaled 4K, Fox’s 4K broadcasts are done with HDR (High Dynamic Range) while ESPN’s 4K events are not. HDR provides a more vivid picture, particularly more vivid colors. If done poorly, it can look like someone took out a few crayons and colored the images. But if it’s done right, the picture is more dynamic and evocative.
You can see a bracket of the Big East tournament here.
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— Phillip Swann