Sky 4K broadcasting plans keep expanding: Formula 1 in UHD for 2017

by on March 29, 2016

Stephan Jukic – March 29, 2016

Sky, which has been investing quite heavily in an infrastructure for 4K ultra HD broadcasting, is now officially confirming that the company will show the Formula 1 race live in 4K UHD resolution as of 2017.

The still distant but upcoming 4K race coverage will be delivered to users with the latest Sky Q services, particularly the Sky Q Silver 4K-capable set –top box or whatever possibly replaces it in 2017 (if anything). Sky Q Silver and its lower-rung cousin Sky Q are both already available to consumers in the UK as part of  a Sky Sports, Movies or other entertainment packages but for the time being neither of the two media boxes offers any 4K content selections, though Sky Q Silver is “4K-capable” according to Sky itself.

Sky Q Silver is however expected to become 4K-ready in time for the summer kick-off of the Premier League football (soccer) season.

Sky's new Sky Q and Sky Q Silver set-top streaming boxes, with 4K content expected for summer

Sky’s new Sky Q and Sky Q Silver set-top streaming boxes, with 4K content expected for summer

So far, for U.K viewers, the only consistent live sports streaming service to offer this kind of content regularly in 4K resolution is BT Sport with their own set-top box service. BT Sport’s 4K sportscasts are delivered live to subscribers about once a week depending on event rosters.

Sky itself claims that “Sky Sports will be the home of Formula 1 in the UK and Ireland from 2019 to 2024.” The company currently offers up a dedicated Sky Sports F1 HD Channel and the assumption is that this is the same medium through which the switchover to 4K resolution will be made in 2017, unless the HD F1 channel is preserved and a wholly new avenue for live 4K broadcasts of the racing matches is unveiled.

Beyond these vague details about a 2017 kickoff of Formula 1 racing in 4K, Sky has given no further details about the availability of the upcoming service or how pricing will work.

Additionally, Sky is unveiling a new Now TV set-top box, which is also due for a summer release. The Now TV box will offer bundled content options and will likely include the Sky Sports Pass for additional subscription fees. There are also rumors that the Now TV box will offer 4K UHD capability and streaming as well, for late 2016 and into 2017.

Sky’s current streaming content services with the Sky Q set-top boxes are fairly robust and versatile, even if they don’t yet offer 4K content or streaming. The 4K capacity expected for the summer of 2016 in the Sky Q Silver in particular will include movies and other entertainment from third party sources, possibly even Netflix, as BT Sport is also intending.

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