Rogers about to deliver the world’s first NHL Hockey broadcasts in 4K UHD

by on January 18, 2016

Stephan Jukic – January 18, 2016

After participating in the first ever live 4K sports broadcast of an NBA game this last week on Thursday the 14th of January, Rogers is now moving even further afield and taking on a major NHL broadcast of live games in 4K ultra HD to a public audience.

The historic first ever 4K NHL (National Hockey League) game will be one of the major Hockey Night in Canada telecasts produced by Sportsnet and viewable to Rogers customers on the company’s Nextbox 4K service on channel 999, on Saturday, January 23, at 7 pm Pacific Time. The match in question being a playoff between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, live from the Air Canada Center.

According to Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties Rogers, “What makes this 4K technology so exciting is how it enhances our storytelling and how we can boost sports fans passion for the game in a truly immersive way. Games are won and lost in the details, and with 4K, the fans are closer than ever to the insider perspective”.

Furthermore, according to Dirk Woessner, President of Consumer Business Unit at Rogers, “We’re investing in technology and content to build the best possible 4K TV experience for our customers. With a growing lineup of live events and original productions, we’re working to brighten every screen with premium 4K content.”

In simple terms, what these new live sportscasts of games in 4K mean is that we’re seeing some of the first and more consistently serious signs of real broadcaster interest in the medium and its live transmission to paying audiences in the general public, via their subscription services. This is a definite sign of cracks in the 4K broadcaster content dam so to speak and bodes well for the development of the landscape in 2016, so that 4K entertainment is no longer primarily the exclusive domain of online streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon among others.

In any case, hockey fans have plenty to get excited about. The revolutionary new resolution levels of 4K technology means a live hockey viewing experience that goes well beyond the sharpness of Full HD TV, especially if the games are viewed from a larger ultra HD TV of 55 inches or more. The movement of the players, the flex of a hockey stick on the ice, the spray of ice as they move, will all be visible in a level of clarity that almost simulates being there in person, thanks to the 8.9 million pixels that 4K resolution offers and thanks also to the color and realism technologies all newer name brand 4K TVs offer as part of their internal technology.

To give just one example of the sorts of improvements offered by 4K TVs displaying these NHL broadcasts in 4K resolution, broadcasters can now offer in-game zoom of up to 500% without any significant motion blur, which can be a common problem in more conventional resolutions.

The Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens game of January 23 is the first of a 20-game NHL lineup that Rogers and Sportsnet are planning on broadcasting in 4K resolution throughout 2016.

Sportsnet is facilitating the live 4K UHD NHL broadcasts from Rogers

Sportsnet is facilitating the live 4K UHD NHL broadcasts from Rogers

However, for the next few months at least, the schedule of 4K UHD live NHL Games is as follows:

DATE                   MATCHUP

Sat. Jan. 23         Montreal at Toronto

Sat. Feb. 6          Toronto at Ottawa

Sat. Feb. 20        Philadelphia at Toronto

Sat. Feb. 27        Toronto at Montreal

Sat. March 5      Ottawa at Toronto

Sat. March 12    Toronto at Ottawa

Sat. March 19    Montreal at Ottawa

Sat. March 26    New York Rangers at Montreal

Both Rogers and Sportsnet have a standing commitment dating back from 2015 to make live 4K UHD sportscast broadcasting a part of their regular subscriber services package, with a current total of more than 100 planned broadcasts of assorted sporting events, particularly NBA and NHL games.

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