TV Answer Man, I am disappointed that there seems to be fewer 4K sports than before. The networks just don’t seem like they want to push 4K forward. So my question is do you think that Fox will at least show the Super Bowl in 4K this year? — Jose, Sacramento, California. 

Jose, I hear you. Fox has done just one regular season MLB game this year in 4K while ESPN hasn’t done any. Neither Fox or CBS has said it will do any regular season NFL games in 4K during the 2022 campaign. And Amazon last week confirmed to the TV Answer Man that it won’t show its exclusive Thursday Night Football games in 4K, something Fox did with its TNF broadcasts in previous years.

If that leads you to conclude that the networks do not regard 4K TV as a priority, you would be right. While some networks, such as Fox and ESPN, are willing to invest a small portion of their time and resources to 4K, industry executives generally consider it a niche technology, one that won’t generate significant additional revenue (in advertising) or even a significant addition in viewers.

Consequently, they dabble in 4K productions to appeal to the niche audience that appreciates 4K. It also allows the network’s technology unit to advance new cameras and infrastructure that can benefit the entire audience, not just the 4K crowd.

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That said, there are bright spots in the networks’ 4K coverage. MLB Network is now doing occasional ‘Showcase’ games in 4K, although only DIRECTV and YouTube TV are carrying them in the format. NBC just confirmed that Notre Dame home games will again be in 4K this season. And I suspect Fox and ESPN will soon make some 4K announcements for its college football broadcasts.

Now to your question regarding the 2023 Super Bowl this February, I am confident that Fox will do the game in 4K HDR, albeit an upscaled 4K HDR. The network is the only one that has done a Super Bowl in 4K (the 2020 game) and so it’s highly likely it will do it again in 2023, the first year the network has had the game since 2020.

However, we may not get an official confirmation of a Fox 4K Super Bowl until late this year. The network did not confirm the 2020 4K Super Bowl until November 2019 when Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch spilled the beans in a financial analyst call.

Jose, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann