TV Answer Man, I’m enjoying watching the Olympics in 4K and I wish every sport was available in 4K. I’m looking forward to watching more sports in 4K. Do you know what the next big sporting event in 4K is? I have Comcast. Will it have it in 4K? — Jake, Boston.
Jake, several pay TV providers, including Comcast, have opened eyes the last week or so with their dazzling 4K offering of the 2021 Summer Olympics Games from Tokyo. Several readers have sent me e-mails expressing hope that more sports will soon be available in the format.
Unfortunately, Covid restrictions and tightening budgets have made it more difficult this year for the networks to broadcast live events in 4K.
But will be the next big sporting event in 4K, you ask?
Fox will produce the Thursday, August 12th ‘Field of Dreams’ game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in 4K HDR. The game, which will be played at 7 p.m. ET, will take place at the newly-constructed 8,000-seat stadium in Dyersville, Iowa, adjacent to the farmland used as a baseball field in the 1989 movie, Fields of Dreams, which stars Kevin Costner.
Pay TV providers that normally offer Fox’s 4K events in the format are expected to be on board, including Comcast, DIRECTV, FuboTV, Dish, Optimum, Verizon and YouTube TV. Fox will also offer the game in 4K on its Fox Sports app for viewers who subscribe to the channel via their providers.
By the way, 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.
Jake, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann