TV Answer Man, I really enjoyed ESPN’s 4K broadcast of the Syracuse and Duke game on Saturday. Do you know what this week’s 4K game will be? — Nate, Statesville, North Carolina.
Nate, you’re right. ESPN is now doing a 4K college basketball game of the week. The 4K broadcast is available on special 4K channels from select pay TV providers, including DIRECTV, Comcast, Verizon and YouTube TV. (Unlike Fox, ESPN does not provide a 4K stream on its apps, ESPN or ESPN+.)
And this week’s 4K game of the week is…Kentucky vs. Kansas at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 29. The game, which will be simulcast in HD on the main ESPN channel, will be played at the Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.
The 5th ranked Kansas Jayhawks, which are now 17-2 and 10-0 at home, are led by 6’5″ senior guard Ochal Agbaji who’s averaging 21.3 points per game. Kentucky, which is 15-4 and 2-3 away from home, is paced by 6’9″ junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe who’s averaging 16.1 points a game and 14.8 rebounds.
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 4K game each week rather than Fox’s multiple 4K games per week.
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.
Nate, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann