Score one for college basketball fans… DIRECTV’s about to make you even happier. Starting this weekend, you’ll see a series of 4K basketball games. The first is the Cal-Stanford game this Saturday February 17, at 10pm Eastern on channel 106. Future games will follow on channel 106 as the season progresses. While no one is talking about 4K March Madness yet, no one is saying it’s not going to happen either. It should be noted, though, that the March Madness games are broadcast by the Turner organization, not by Fox Sports. That won’t stop fans from hoping.
DIRECTV has had a long collaboration with the Fox Sports organization. Way back when, a long time ago, DIRECTV was majority owned by News Corp., the same parent as Fox, and much of the early HD programming was a cooperation by Fox and DIRECTV. Last year, the two organizations renewed their love affair through what is being called a “comprehensive carriage agreement” that ensures that there will be a huge amount of sports content on DIRECTV for years to come.
The question for me remains, to what extent will basketball benefit from 4K. One of my personal issues with HD basketball has been that the fast motion is sometimes hard to capture using traditional HD methods. Things have improved significantly in the last ten years, but there are still times when the sheer amount of movement on the court can result in blocky, pixelated moments just when you really need to see what’s going on. The extra bandwidth and next-gen compression techniques of DIRECTV 4K should help with that. On the other hand, the relatively confined space of the basketball court, coupled with the large, easy-to-see ball and the small number of (admittedly large) players aren’t an ideal way to show everything that 4K can bring to the table.
I guess we’ll all just have to see how good the action is in 4K starting this weekend. I’ll be tuning in… will you?