TV Answer Man, any news on what the 4K game will be on ESPN this week? I’m hoping to watch Auburn because they are the best team in the nation!! Please let me know. — Johnnie, Huntsville, Alabama.
Johnnie, ESPN is now doing one 4K college basketball game each 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 ESPN 4K game of the week is…Texas A&M vs Auburn at the Auburn Arena. The all-SEC matchup will tip off Saturday at noon ET. ESPN will simulcast the game in HD on the main ESPN channel.
The top-ranked Auburn Tigers, which are now 22-1, are led by 6’10” freshman forward Jabari Smith who’s averaging 15.3 points a game. The unranked Texas A&M Aggies, which are now 15-8, are led by 6’5” senior guard Quenton Jackson who’s averaging 13.1 points a game.
Auburn will enter the game as a heavy favorite with ESPN’s ‘Matchup Predictor’ forecasting that the Tigers’ chances of winning are 90.6 percent.
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.
Johnnie, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann