TV Answer Man, I’ve read a few of your articles on sports on Fox that are in 4K. I am curious to see what it looks like, particularly the World Cup games. What exactly do you need to watch 4K sports on Fox? — Len, Bay City, Michigan.
Len, you’re right. Fox is broadcasting the 2022 FIFA World Cup from Qatar in native 4K, which means that it’s being produced on site in 4K and transmitted to the home in the format as well. The network does several other sports in 4K, including college football and basketball, but they are upscaled to 4K for the home transmission from a 1080p HD on-site production. (Videophiles prefer native 4K, saying it provides a more realistic picture.)
Fox is also doing upscaled 4K broadcasts this weekend of the Pac 12 college football title game and the Big 10 conference title game. (And don’t dismiss the upscaled 4K picture; it includes High Dynamic Range, which can enhance the color and vividness.)
With Fox emerging as the leading provider of live 4K events, there has been considerable confusion over who can watch them, and how. Several pay TV providers, including DIRECTV, Comcast, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, Optimum, Dish and Verizon, among others, offer the Fox-produced 4K broadcasts on special 4K channels.
Contact your provider for details on how to get set up for 4K; in the case of the cable and satellite ops, it’s simply a matter of getting the right receiver and package. (And a 4K TV, of course.) For FuboTV and YouTube TV, you need to subscribe to the right package and have a 4K-enabled streaming device, such as the Apple TV 4K or Roku Ultra. (More on that below.) FuboTV’s 4K programming is available in its $79.99 a month plan and above while YouTube TV requires you to purchase a $20 a month 4K add-on plan.
But what if you subscribe to a pay TV service that doesn’t offer Fox in 4K, such as Charter’s Spectrum TV, DIRECTV Stream, Sling TV or Hulu Live? Can you still watch 4K on the Fox Sports app?
Yes, but here’s what you need:
1. A pay TV subscription that includes Fox.
You can access the 4K broadcasts on the Fox Sports or Fox Now apps with your pay TV service’s user name and password, even if that service doesn’t offer Fox in 4K in its lineup. This is known as your TV Everywhere credentials. So even if your provider doesn’t offer the 4K games on a special 4K channel, you can still watch them in the format on the app.
If you don’t have a pay TV sub that includes Fox, you’re out of luck.
2. A 4K TV and 4K device that’s compatible with the Fox Sports app.
This is where the confusion usually escalates. Some Smart TVs have the Fox Sports app in their app stores, but they may not be not compatible with the 4K broadcasts; you might be able to only watch games in HD using a Fox Sports app from your set’s app store.
To watch a game in 4K on the Fox apps, you need one of the following devices connected to your 4K TV:
Fire TV (GEN 2 and 3)
Fire TV Edition 4K models
Fire TV Stick 4K models (GEN 3)
Apple TV 4K (Apple TV GEN 5)
Roku Streaming Stick+
4K/UHD TV models with Roku OS built-in
Some readers have told me that a few other devices have worked, but the ones listed above are from the Fox web site. So if you’re buying a new device specifically to watch 4K on the Fox app, I would stick to that list.
Len, watching 4K can be an enjoyable experience, but few people will say it’s also easy or consistent. Greater technology is usually accompanied by greater complexity and 4K is no different.
Hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann