TV Answer Man, any news on this week’s 4K game from ESPN? And why don’t they do more games in 4K like Fox? — Eddie, Madison, Wisconsin.
Eddie, as you note, ESPN does one game per week in 4K during the college football season. The 4K broadcast is available on special 4K channels from select pay TV providers, including DIRECTV, Verizon and YouTube TV. (Unlike Fox, ESPN does not provide a 4K stream on its app, ESPN+.)
And this week’s ESPN 4K game is…The TCU Horned Frogs at the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 9.
TCU enters the Big 12 matchup with a 2-2 record while Texas Tech is 4-1. (It’s homecoming week for Texas Tech, which is 1.5 point favorite.) ESPN will simulcast the game in HD on the main ESPN channel. Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III will join Mark Jones and Quint Kessenich on the call for the sports network.
So why doesn’t ESPN offer more college football games in 4K? Unlike Fox, ESPN does native 4K broadcasts, which means it’s broadcast on site in 4K as well as transmitted to the home in the format. (Fox upscales the on-site 1080p HDR, High Dynamic Range, broadcast to 4K HDR for the home transmission.) The native 4K broadcast requires more preparation and expense than the upscaled edition, which could be a reason why ESPN does one game rather than Fox’s customary 4K doubleheaders on Saturday.
And in case you’re wondering, many videophiles say the upscaled 4K picture is not as sharp as the native 4K image. But the inclusion of HDR can offer heightened colors and vividness. ESPN’s 4K broadcast does not include HDR.
Eddie, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann