TV Answer Man, I just got the new 4K plan from YouTube TV, but I already feel ripped off. The NBA Finals is on and it’s not in 4K! How can they have a 4K plan and not show the NBA Finals in 4K? — Tony, Cleveland.
Tony, it’s not YouTube TV’s fault. I’ll explain, but first, a few words on YouTube TV’s new 4K package.
The multi-channel, live streaming service announced this month that it has launched 4K Plus, an add-on package that will give you unlimited streams on a home WiFi as well as live and on-demand 4K programming from NBC and ESPN, FX, Fox, Discovery Networks and other networks.
YouTube TV says the extra plan will cost $19.99 a month, but new users can get a one-month free trial and then a price of $9.99 a month for one year. (If 4K Plus subscribers cancel or pause their plan at any time during the 12-month period, the discount price will no longer be available.)
Whether you’re paying $9.99 a month or $19.99, you might think that would entitle you to watch most, if not all, top-rated shows and sporting events in 4K, right?
YouTube TV can only offer 4K programming that’s broadcast in 4K by the programmer, such as tomorrow night’s MLB All-Star Game, which is produced by Fox. The streaming service can’t take a live high-def show or sporting event and upscale it to 4K. (And it’s unlikely that you would like how it looks even if it could.)
ABC, which is owned by Disney, has decided not to produce the NBA Finals in 4K. That’s why it’s not in 4K on YouTube TV, or anywhere else. The network hasn’t commented on why it decided to forego a 4K broadcast, but generally speaking, Covid and corporate belt-tightening have conspired in recent months to curb the networks’ appetite for 4K productions. That will hopefully change in the coming months, but for now, the number of live 4K sporting events is few and far between.
But you can watch the All-Star game and this weekend’s ‘The Open’ golf tournament in 4K on YouTube TV. And although it hasn’t made an official announcement yet, YouTube TV is likely to offer this month’s Summer Olympics in 4K as well.
Tony, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann