TV Answer Man, has ESPN said what the 4K game will be this week for college basketball? — Davey, Big Spring, Texas.
Davey, 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…Oregon vs. Arizona at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona. The all-Pac 12 matchup will tip off Saturday (February 19) at 10 p.m. ET. ESPN will simulcast the game in HD on the main ESPN channel.
The third-ranked Arizona Wildcats, which are now 22-2, are led by 6’6″ sophomore guard Bennedict Mathurin who’s scoring 17.0 points a game while the unranked Oregon Ducks, which are 17-8, are paced by 6’5″ senior guard Will Richardson who’s averaging 15.1 points a game.
Arizona will enter the game as a heavy favorite with ESPN’s ‘Matchup Predictor’ forecasting that the Wildcats’ chances of winning are 94.6 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.
Last note: Fox, which has done more than a dozen college basketball games in 4K this season, does not have another regular season contest scheduled in the format. The next Fox college basketball game in 4K will be next month when the network does both the Big East and Big Ten tournaments in 4K.
Davey, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann