Could it only have been five years ago?
In mid-2016, DIRECTV took a big step. Its HR54 DVR and C61K 4K client were less than a year old, and the company had rolled out three channels dedicated to 4K content. However, the content was always pre-produced. There was a mix of movies and documentary content, but nothing truly live.
Putting live content into the mix meant more than just 4K satellite TV. It meant producing something on-site, getting it to an uplink center, and having everything work out right.
For its first high-profile live broadcast, DIRECTV chose to offer a pay-per-view event. Spoiler alert, it didn’t happen exactly as planned. But that’s not the point.
Take a trip back
In this article dated July 2, 2016, I announced that the first pay-per-view fight event in 4K on DIRECTV would be the Cormier-Jones fight known at the time as UFC 200. Prices were set, money changed hands.
And then, according to contemporary sources, Jon Jones tested positive for banned substances. The bout was canceled on July 7, 2016, two days before it was due to have taken place. The undercard, featuring Brock Lesnar and Jon Holt, was promoted to the main event so that UFC 200 could go on as scheduled. Lesnar won that fight although it seems that the decision was changed to no contest after the fact.
More importantly though, DIRECTV’s 4K coverage went off without a hitch. While it wasn’t the event that customers thought they would get, the technical wizardry was still there and for the first time, a live pay-per-view event was delivered to US satellite customers in 4K. So in that sense, there were certainly a lot of winners that night.
Unfortunately Daniel Cormier was not one of them. He didn’t get the chance that night. Cormier and Jones would eventually fight in July of 2017. Jones won, but was once again brought on doping charges. This led to Cormier being declared champion after the fact.
Not that the fate of Cormier or Jones has a lot to do with DIRECTV, but it’s all a part of the history we share. It may have only been five years ago, but in many ways it seems like a lifetime.