It’s Super Bowl week, but unfortunately fans will not be able to watch the Big Game in 4K this year. The CBS Sports press release confirms that CBS will not broadcast Super Bowl LV in the 4K Ultra HD format on Sunday, February 7. There will be 120 total cameras and 12 cameras with 4K and 8K capabilities, yet the game will not be available to watch in 4K.
The three main networks (CBS, FOX, and NBC) rotate the Super Bowl each season, so it’s not a uniform broadcast and decision on how to show the game. However, FOX did broadcast Super Bowl LIV in 4K UHD last year, so this is a disappointing step back at a time when consumers hope to get more 4K content by the year, not less.
Apparently, CBS is blaming the coronavirus pandemic for not showcasing Super Bowl LV in 4K. It sounds like a sorry excuse on the surface, but keep in mind that FOX was broadcasting their games in 4K this year—every Thursday Night Football game and then the Wild Card Round matchup between the Rams and the Seahawks—before suddenly stopping and not showing either the NFC Divisional Round or the NFC Championship in 4K. So maybe there is something to the coronavirus impacting things, and perhaps the blame shouldn’t be put all on CBS for this.
Still, while it was odd for FOX to stop their 4K broadcasts in middle of the postseason when the games are more important, the Super Bowl is on another level. We would have thought CBS and the NFL would find a way to get something done for their biggest even of the year.
The NFL’s 4K broadcasts (thus far, only on Thursday Night Football and a select few playoff games including Super Bowl LIV last season and the one Wild Card Round game this season) haven’t been in true native 4K, but they look stunning nonetheless. The upscaled UHD broadcasts have also included HDR (High Dynamic Range) to really make the colors and textures pop. Especially if you have the right 4K television, the difference between the 4K broadcast and the standard broadcast is considerable.
On the bright side, CBS will include “dramatically new camera angles” and highly detailed captures (the high-resolution shots people have described as “video game-like”) for Super Bowl LV.
As for 4K UHD: there’s always next year.