TV Answer Man, NBC says they’re using a 4K Skycam for its Sunday Night Football game. Does this mean the broadcast is in 4K when they show the Skycam shot on the main broadcast? How can they say it’s a 4K camera being used if it’s not in 4K, right? — Gordon, Biloxi, Mississippi.
Gordon, NBC Sports added a 4K Skycam camera to its coverage of the 2022 Super Bowl in February and the network started using it this season for its Sunday Night Football games. The camera, which hangs low above the field, is employed at various times during the game to deliver up close shots of the action.
However, when NBC displays the 4K Skycam picture, that doesn’t mean the home broadcast is suddenly transformed from the usual 1080i HD to 4K. For the home viewer to see the Skycam picture in 4K, NBC would have to produce the entire broadcast (including employing other 4K cameras) in 4K, which it does not.
Or it would have to produce the entire broadcast in 4K using just the 4K Skycam, which is what ESPN has done with its national college football championship game broadcasts for the last few years.
But NBC has never done a single NFL game in 4K, including the 2022 Super Bowl, and the 2022 Sunday Night Football games are no exception.
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That could change in 2023 when Peacock, the NBC-owned streaming service, may add live sports in 4K, the TV Answer Man has learned. (Peacock now offers a small number of movies in the format.) If NBC Sports is doing 4K for Peacock, it’s likely that it would do so for its network’s NFL broadcasts as well.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation and report back here if NBC changes its position on 4K NFL football. Until then, enjoy the Skycam, but it’s not in 4K.
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— Phillip Swann