TV Answer Man, can you let us know when ESPN says what the 4K game of the week will be? It looks great on my new TV. — Sam, Landover, Maryland.
Sam, 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…Kansas vs. Baylor on Saturday (February 26) at 8 p.m. ET from the Paul J. Meyer Arena in Waco, Texas. (ESPN will simulcast the game in HD on the main ESPN channel.)
The fifth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks, which are now 23-4, are led by senior guard Ochai Agbaji who’s averaging 20.2 points a game while the Baylor Bears, now 23-5, are paced by junior guard Adam Flagler who’s averaging 13.7 points a game.
Baylor will enter the game as the favorite with ESPN’s ‘Matchup Predictor’ forecasting that the Bears’ chances of winning are 69.4 percent. However, Kansas defeated Baylor three weeks ago, 83-59.
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.
Sam, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann