By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Nearly six years after it first said it would offer 4K programming, DIRECTV Stream last month added its first 4K channel for customers who have the company’s new Gemini set-top and 4K-enabled Roku devices. The launch has prompted numerous readers to ask questions about DIRECTV Stream’s future 4K plans and what is needed to watch shows in the format on the live streaming service. So let’s go to the mail bag and answer some of your inquiries:
What is on DIRECTV Stream’s channel 104?
The channel airs nature/geography documentaries, concerts and some lifestyle shows. It’s not the most exciting fare, to be blunt. And the 4K picture quality varies; sometimes, it’s amazingly crisp and realistic while some shows are better than HD but not by a lot.
When will DIRECTV Stream add live sports in 4K?
The streamer says it will add two more 4K channels for live sports, channels 105 and 106. However, there is no specific launch date. Asked this week by the TV Answer Man, a DIRECTV spokesman said only, “Sometime this year.” It’s fair to say that DIRECTV Stream’s 4K audience will likely be small until they add live sports in the format.
Does it require an extra fee to watch 4K on DIRECTV Stream?
No, unlike YouTube TV, which charges $9.99 a month for 4K, channel 104 is free. Of course, YouTube TV has live sports in 4K so it’s easier to justify the added fee.
When will channel 104 be available on all streaming devices?
DIRECTV Stream has taken a slow road in rolling out 4K. All Apple TV, Fire TV and Android TV devices should get the channel soon, if they haven’t already.
What equipment do you need to watch 4K on DIRECTV Stream?
For starters, a 4K TV with a port that supports HDCP 2.2 (Check your TV manual). Then, you will need a 4K-enabled streaming device such as a Roku and the Gemini set-top.
DIRECTV Stream’s channel 104 says you need to enable HDR for best results. How do you do that?
HDR, High Dynamic Range, can make your 4K picture look more vivid and realistic. You can check in your device’s settings to see if HDR is enabled.
What if your 4K picture looks less detailed than it should?
DIRECTV Stream says you need to watch 4K via an Internet connection with at least 25 Mpbs. Otherwise, the picture will likely look dull and lack detail. And when DIRECTV Stream says 25 Mpbs, that actually means your plan should offer faster speeds, such as 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps, to ensure that the 4K stream doesn’t fall below 25. Internet speeds varies so when the speed dips, you don’t want it to fall below the 25 Mbps threshold.
Can you record 4K on DIRECTV Stream?
Yes, you can schedule recordings from your 4K channel and watch them by clicking on the Library tab in your menu.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann