YES!!!! DIRECTV will have the Super Bowl in 4K

The image you see above comes from DIRECTV’s 4K landing page.  According to that page, DIRECTV will be airing the Super Bowl on channel 105 in 4K. Not a lot of other information, but that’s all we needed to hear, right?

But will it “really” be 4K?

There’s a rumor that keeps swirling around that the game will actually be produced on site in 1080p and then sent to stations in 720p (Fox’s standard for HD broadcasting) and upsampled for 4K. If that’s true you won’t “really” be seeing a 4K picture. The level of detail you normally associate with 4K won’t really be there.

And I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter. You should still watch the 4K stream. Because your local Fox station broadcasts in 720p, you’ll still be seeing roughly twice the detail in the 4K broadcast as you would if you got the off-air version. I expect that it will make a big difference.

720p? What?

That’s right, ABC and Fox broadcast their local network programming at a resolution of 1280×720, while NBC, CBS and most non-Disney national channels broadcast at a resolution of 1920×1080. Technically both qualify as “high definition,” although the difference is pretty clear on a larger TV.

This goes back 20 years to the early days of HD development. It was thought that it would be impossible for a TV to show 60 full frames at a resolution of 1920×1080. Back then they thought the image processors and decompressors would never be up to the task. They were, of course, wrong. But what happened was ABC/ESPN and Fox chose 720p. This was thought to be better for fast action because you got 60 full frames every second. Pretty much everyone else chose 1080i, which broadcast 30 full frames every second at a higher quality level.

Today it’s a ridiculous distinction because most TVs can receive 4K signals at 120 full frames per second. But, the distinctions have remained.

By watching the 4K stream you’ll be seeing more detail than you would on the broadcast stream. So do it.

Other details?

There are no other details yet. Simple as that. With past 4K broadcasts, you’ve gotten a commercial-free experience. I wouldn’t expect that this time, but you might get DIRECTV commercials instead of local ones from your broadcaster. I have to guess that Fox’s stable of talking-head commentators will also be on the audio track. Let’s say that they’re not universally loved and leave it at that.

Not too late to upgrade

If you want to upgrade your experience to the full 4K, you’ll want to call the experts at Solid Signal right now. The number is, of course, 888-233-7563, and I guarantee that the team in our 100% US-based call center will do a better job of calling the plays than Fox’s commentators. Give a call and we’ll do our best to get you what you need by game time. If it’s after east coast business hours… you still have a play. Just fill out the form below and one of our crack offensive line will contact you, usually within about 24 hours.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.