TV Answer Man, do you know when ESPN will start showing college basketball in 4K? I am very excited to see some ESPN games in native 4K. I read your article about Fox’s 4K games. — Jamal, Orlando, Florida.
Jamal, for the past few years, ESPN has done a college basketball game of the week in 4K, as it also has done for college football. The sports network has yet to tip off this season’s 4K games so I asked an ESPN spokesperson today when they would start.
“The first men’s basketball game in 4K is January 14 — Kentucky at Tennessee (noon ET.)” (The game will be simulcast in high-def on ESPN.)
The spokesperson says the ESPN 4K broadcasts will be available on special 4K channels from five pay TV providers: DIRECTV, Comcast, Verizon, Altice and YouTube TV. (Unlike Fox, ESPN does not provide a 4K stream on its apps, ESPN or ESPN+. That means you will need one of those five providers to watch the games in 4K.)
Unlike Fox, ESPN does native 4K broadcasts, which means it’s produced on site in 4K as well as transmitted to the home in the format. (Fox upscales the college games from 1080p HDR, High Dynamic Range, to 4K HDR for the home transmission.)
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.
Fox told the TV Answer Man last month that its 4K coverage of college basketball will begin with the Thursday, January 12th matchup between Minnesota and Ohio State at 6:30 p.m. ET. The network says the next six games in 4K will be:
01/13/23 7:00 PM Friday CBBM – Villanova @ Butler
01/17/23 7:00 PM Tuesday CBBM – Creighton @ Butler
01/19/23 8:30 PM Thursday CBBM – Indiana @ Illinois
01/21/23 12:00 PM Saturday CBBM – Georgetown @ Xavier
01/26/23 7:00 PM Thursday CBBM – Iowa @ Michigan St.
01/28/23 4:00 PM Saturday CBBM – Seton Hall @ Butler
— All times Eastern.
The Fox 4K games can be watched on the Fox Now or Fox Sports apps in 4K HDR by using your TV Everywhere user name and password from your pay TV provider. (The games will be simulcast in high-def on Fox or FS1. Programming information to be revealed later.)
The pay TV services that are expected to carry the Fox games on special 4K channels are DIRECTV, Dish, Comcast, Verizon, Optimum, YouTube TV, and FuboTV. (In FuboTV markets where the Fox affiliate is provided with your programming package.) Check your on-screen guide for more details.
Jamal, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann