By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, there are two things I can’t understand. Why hasn’t Peacock started doing live sports in 4K like they said they would. And why doesn’t Redbox start putting 4K movies in their kiosks in all cities, not just a few. What’s happening here? — Cary, Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Cary, let’s start with Peacock, owned by Comcast and run by NBC. The streaming service offers a wide variety of NBC-produced live sports including Major League Baseball, Notre Dame football, English Premier League soccer and other events. But to date, Peacock has only offered a relatively small number of movies and TV shows in 4K, not live sports.

I’ve seen several people comment on social media forums that Peacock said last year that it would begin offering live sports in 4K in 2023. But, actually, that’s not true. I think the misunderstanding comes from an article I wrote on Peacock’s live sports plans in 2022. The story said:

“Well, we just reached out to a highly placed source in the Peacock community who told us that the streamer does not plan to do any live sports in 4K until 2023 at the earliest.”

Note the phrase, at the earliest. That didn’t mean that Peacock was committing to live sports in 4K in 2023; it meant that Peacock wouldn’t do it in 2022 but was considering it for 2023.

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So what’s the latest? Will Peacock do live sports in 4K in 2023? I contacted an NBC Sports spokesman this week who said the following:

“Our final plans haven’t been made yet, but we’ll update you when we have them.”

Not encouraging perhaps, but at least he didn’t say no.

Now, as for Redbox. The kiosk disc rental service in May 2018 began offering 4K Blu-ray rentals in six markets: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit, Austin and Miami. Then, in March 2019, Redbox added nine more markets for 4K rentals:

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Colorado Springs, Colo.
Des Moines, Iowa
Kansas City, Mo.
Minneapolis, Minn.
Portland, Ore.
Reno, Nev.
San Diego, Calif.
San Francisco, Calif.
Spokane, Wash.

But since then, nothing. Not one additional market for 4K rentals.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t help matters, but I think the nation has moved on from hiding in the basement. With the movie theater business improving, and more films coming to market, it would seem like a good time to expand the 4K list of cities.

I recently asked a Redbox source if the company still planned to provide 4K disc rentals in more markets. He said yes but wouldn’t give a date. He also acknowledged that the pandemic slowed Redbox’s plan to expand its 4K business, but the company was preparing to get back to schedule soon.

We’ll see on both Peacock and Redbox. But for now, they are two big misses for the 4K audience.

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

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— Phillip Swann