TV Answer Man, I am a Comcast customer and I used to be able to watch everything that was in 4K. But now Comcast isn’t doing ESPN in 4K or the NBC Notre Dame games or even the soccer games. Are they losing interest in 4K? They used to be really good with 4K. — Jay, Boston.
Jay, I feel your pain. Comcast, which still provides Fox-produced live sporting events in 4K, such as college football games, has suddenly stopped offering 4K broadcasts from ESPN (college football’s ‘4K game of the week.’) and NBC (home Notre Dame football games and English Premier League soccer). The cable operator aired both NBC and ESPN games in 4K during the last college football season, but not this year.
What’s particularly concerning about this to 4K fans is that Comcast actually owns NBC and therefore presumably would have no problem obtaining the rights to air its 4K events in the format. (ESPN’s sudden omission could be tied to Comcast’s ongoing negotiations for a new carriage agreement with the owner of the sports network, Disney.)
I asked Comcast’s PR department for an explanation for not providing the Notre Dame and soccer games in 4K.
The response: Zero. Nothing. No response at all.
This compounds the confusion, at least to this reporter, because the cable op’s PR team is normally very responsive and resourceful. But for whatever reason, it appears unwilling to discuss this issue.
So that leaves me to speculate for the cause. My best guess is that Comcast currently does not have the 4K rights to Notre Dame and the EPL matches. While they are airing on a Comcast-owned network, the rights to a 4K broadcast could be attached to the individual college (Notre Dame) or league (English Premier League). The fact that Comcast in August aired the NBC-produced 2021 Summer Olympics Games in 4K, but not Notre Dame in 4K on NBC in September makes you wonder.
Something else to consider: The ACC has been actively lobbying Notre Dame to join the ACC Conference, and Comcast still does not carry the ACC Network.
Yes, it may be farfetched to think that Notre Dame’s 4K rights are already tied to some tenuous connection to the ACC Network. But in the world of TV broadcast rights, you never know.
Another explanation here is that Comcast is losing interest in 4K. I doubt that is the case because Comcast is still providing the entire Fox 4K lineup in the format. But it’s possible that the cable op has concluded that 4K is no longer worth the time and expense to offer everything in the format.
Bottom line: I hope that Comcast reverses its position and provides an explanation for the sudden turn on 4K. But unless it does, we will not know the reason.
Jay, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann