TV Answer Man, I watched ESPN’s 4K airing of the college game with BYU and Baylor and it looked great. So will ESPN have the Monday Night Football game in 4K, too? It would seem like a no-brainer. — Todd, Boulder, Colorado.
Todd, tonight’s first Monday Night Football game of the 2022 season will feature the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks at 8:15 p.m. ET from Lumen Field in Seattle. ESPN’s ‘Matchup Predictor‘ gives the Broncos a 65.4 percent chance of winning.
Viewers will have a multitude of options with the game broadcast on ESPN and its sister network, ABC, as well as streamed on ESPN+. But will the game be available in 4K, you ask?
The answer is no. ESPN nor ABC has ever done a regular season NFL game in 4K and tonight’s game will not be a historic first.
This may confuse some 4K TV fans since ESPN does a weekly college football game in 4K. (The network aired the BYU-Baylor game in the format on Saturday night; the 4K broadcast was available on YouTube TV, DIRECTV, Verizon and Comcast.) Why doesn’t the network just simply bring those cameras and other related equipment over to Seattle, right?
Well, it’s not that simple. A 4K production requires more money, manpower and infrastructure — and planning time. This is particularly true for a ‘native 4K’ production, which ESPN does. (Native 4K means it’s produced on site in 4K and transmitted to the home in 4K. In contrast, Fox produces a 4K event in 1080p HDR and upscales it to 4K HDR, High Dynamic Range, to the home.)
There’s also concerns over whether the 4K production will mesh efficiently with the high-def broadcast which goes to a far larger audience.
That said, you would think that ESPN would have found at least one NFL game to produce in 4K after all these years. But the network, like other networks, still see 4K as a niche and do not believe it’s worth the extra investment and time. (Also worth noting that It’s easier to do a low-profile college game than a mass audience Monday Night Football contest in 4K.)
Todd, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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