Live 4K TV sports are gaining serious traction in North America

by on February 12, 2016

Stephan Jukic – February 12, 2016

While it looks like the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil won’t be getting public 4K broadcasts for some rather strangely argued reasons, 4K video for live sportscasts is definitely becoming a thing on the consumer sports market in North America

What was a market at first relegated mostly to online streaming of canned content in 4K to subscribers of services like Netflix and Amazon Prime among others, is now a market in which a growing number of major sports events are being delivered live to consumers in their homes across different parts of the North American continent.

For starters, we have the recent news from a company called Videotron Ltd. This is the third largest cable operator in the Canadian market and it has announced, as of last week, that it is carrying live sports event broadcasting in 4K ultra HD. Videotron’s planned broadcasts as of now include at least four NHL Hockey League and eight NBA basketball games in 4K live streaming for the rest of each league’s season. These broadcasts have been in effect as of last Thursday, when a match between the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Sentators was broadcast to Videotron subscribers who have a special Videotron 4K PVR and accompanying 4K TV on which to watch the broadcasts in their native resolution.

Then we have the case of Rogers Communications and their recent promise (and subsequent delivery) of live sportscasts in 4K of NHL games to select Canadian subscribers in 2016. Rogers, which is the second largest MSO in Canada, will be delivering 81 such live 4K NHL and other sports event broadcasts in baseball to Canadians in ultra HD resolution, if those subscribers have one of the company’s set-top boxes. The Rogers service also offers up Netflix 4K content as well as other programming in ultra HD.

North American OTT services are joining European counterparts like BT Sport in offering live 4K sportscasts

North American OTT services are joining European counterparts like BT Sport in offering live 4K sportscasts

Moving on, there is the case of NeuLion, which has as of recently announced that it will be working together with Univision and a company called NEP to deliver the first live 4K soccer matches in the North American market. The three companies have joined together to stream the February 10th Mexico-Senegal matchup through Miami OTT to viewers who own one of Sony’s superb 4K UHD TVs.

This last project is part of a broader plan for a new Univision Deportes OTT app that will stream future live soccer matches to fans who have the App on compatible 4K TVs in the North American market. This app is expected to arrive to select 4K TVs and other devices in the first few months of 2016.

These are just some of the developments we’re actually seeing unfold in North America alone, globally, other companies are also delivering their own live 4K broadcasts and this includes services like BT Sport in the U.K as well as other European and Asian broadcasters.

Live 4K UHD Sports still has a long way to go before it matches HD sportcasts in scope and size but at least it’s well down the road towards this and finally hitting actual consumer services and audiences.

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