Fox Sports will begin broadcasting 4K sporting events on DirecTV this week starting with the California-Stanford basketball game on Feb. 17.
According to TVPredictions, the game will be offered on channel 106, DirecTV’s dedicated 4K channel. The companies also have plans to air a March 1 basketball game featuring University of Washington taking on UCLA. As the report points out, the game will be simulcast in HD on Fox’s RSNs.
The Feb. 17 4K broadcast comes after the two companies announced in November that they would be working together to offer more 4K sports broadcasts for college basketball and football games as well as MLB, NASCAR and FIFA events.
For DirecTV, the continued expansion of live 4K content has been ramping up since the operator launched three dedicated channels for the format. In April last year, the satellite TV operator launched a 4K network on channel 104 of its program guide, dedicated to "nature documentaries" and original programming from DirecTV's Audience network. Channel 105 features 4K pay-per-view movies and short-form documentaries, and Channel 106 features events in 4K.
For Fox Sports, the 4K broadcasts fit into the programmer's efforts around introducing new and emerging technologies into its broadcasts. Last year, Fox used the Big Ten Football Championship game between Penn State and Wisconsin to offer a “different kind of VR experience,” Michael Davies, senior vice president of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, told Multichannel News.
Fox’s VR setup used an ultra HD camera to obtain a view from the sideline for football fans, a wide-view camera to see the entire field and more perspectives from cameras on each goal post.
“While live VR is important, you need to give the viewer something else to do,” Davies said, according to Multichannel News. “We think that the audience will come for the live VR, but they will stay for some of the other things they can do with it.”