By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I read your story about the first games on Fox being in 4K for the 2023 season. Can you explain to me like I’m a six-year-old what I need to do to actually watch the games in 4K? Thank you in advance. — Larry, Trenton, New Jersey.
Larry, Fox tonight (August 31) will offer a 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) broadcast of the Minnesota-Nebraska college football game at 8 p.m. ET from Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And on Saturday (September 2), the network will do the Colorado at TCU game in 4K at noon ET and the Rice at Texas contest in 4K at 3:30 p.m. ET. That may sound exciting to a 4K veteran but it probably sounds intimidating to someone who hasn’t watched much in the format. How do you actually watch these games in 4K? What do you need? Let me explain in a way that a six-year-old would understand.

First, you need a 4K TV. Then, several pay TV providers, including DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream, Comcast, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, Optimum, Dish and Verizon, offer the Fox-produced 4K broadcasts on special 4K channels. If you look at your on-screen guide for one of those providers, and search at the time the game begins, you should see a 4K channel with the game’s listing, assuming you subscribe to a plan that includes 4K programming.

If you don’t, 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 $84.99 a month plan and above while YouTube TV requires you to purchase a $10 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, 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 app 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 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:

Android 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 Premiere
Roku Premiere+
Roku Streaming Stick+
Roku Ultra
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.

Final note: Fox’s 4K college football broadcasts are upscaled from 1080p HDR. Upscaling is the process when one video format is converted to another. Fox takes the 1080p HDR signal and converts it to a 4K format. Upscaling 4K is not considered as good as native 4K, but the inclusion of HDR can offer heightened colors and vividness.

Larry, 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!

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— Phillip Swann