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The 2016 Summer Olympics are coming in 4K UHD with Dish, Comcast and DirecTV

by on August 4, 2016

Stephan Jukic – August 4, 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are on the verge of arriving and despite the serious political, logistical and environmental issues being discussed in the news about the Host City of Rio, for millions of people, the excitement is very real.

For a certain portion of those millions of viewers who own 4K Televisions, that excitement can be best enjoyed in crystal clear 4K UHD resolution. That’s right, if you own a 4K UHD TV and have a subscription to a few select broadcast 4K ultra HD content providers, you can watch the 2016 Summer Games in the best possible consumer resolution today.

For starters, NBC will not only be offering 4K HDR footage of the Olympic Games events but will also offer this video with the inclusion of Dolby Atmos surround sound as a special bonus. This NBC footage is also downscaled fom what is in fact native 8K video of the games, which as been filmed by the Japanese state broadcaster NHK. On the other hand, the downside of these 4K broadcasts is that they will be on a 24-hour tape delay instead of live.

Viewers of the 2016 Rio Olympics in the U.S will have four different viewing choices when it comes to seeing the international sports action in 4K ultra HD beauty.

Comcast's Xfinity 4K streaming service will offer the Rio Olympics in 4K to owners of newer Samsung and LG 4K TVs

Comcast’s Xfinity 4K streaming service will offer the Rio Olympics in 4K to owners of newer Samsung and LG 4K TVs

These consist of DirecTV, Dish, Comcast and EPB. Dish is promising a linear Olympic broadcast on their channel 106 4K satellite broadcast service and Dish is offering up non-live broadcasts of the Games on their satellite channel 146, along with highlights via video-on-demand (though without HDR) Then, as far as Comcast’s service is concerned, things get a bit more limited, with 4K clips of the key segments from the 2016 Summer Olympics being delivered but only to subscribers of Comcast’s Xfinity streaming content app, which is available only to newer model Samsung 4K TVs and LG’s ultra HD models.

Despite the above limitations, for those who can get them in 4K with high dynamic range as an added bonus, the 2016 Rio Olympics will indeed look more spectacular on the home entertainment screen than any Olympics ever have in history. The sheer color and contrast impact of HDR combined with the ultra-sharp resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels goes way beyond what conventional HD 1080p transmissions of the Games can convey and those who own the latest 4K HDR TVs will definitely benefit from these extra visual specs even if what they’re seeing isn’t exactly live. Those who also have Atmos sound power from Dolby set up in their homes can get an added and superb audio kick if they can watch NBC’s 83 hours of Olympic highlights as they run between the 6th and the 21st of August.

4K video of the 2016 Olympics in Rio will mostly be made available from downscaled 8K video filmed by NHK of Japan

4K video of the 2016 Olympics in Rio will mostly be made available from downscaled 8K video filmed by NHK of Japan

Subscribers of the DirecTV service who want the Games in 4K will need a 4K TV (of course) and will also have to be DirecTV customers with subscriptions to the company’s Ultimate programming package and a DirecTV H454 or newer model Genie DVR set-top box hooked up to their UHD TV.

As for Dish subscribers, they will need either a Hopper 3 or Joey 4K set-top box in their home. Again, the broadcasts in 4K for both the DirecTV and Dish services will be on a 24 hour delay for this year’s Games at least.

The EPB service mentioned above will only be available to a limited audience in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area and even in this region, subscribers of EPB will have to have EPB Fiber Optics in order to watch the 2016 Olympics on channel 803, as part of EPB’s Fi TV Select package. These users will also require one of the company’s newest set-top boxes for 4K access to the Rio Olympics.

Basically, the 4K UHD Olympic broadcast viewing options for Rio 2016 are definitely on the limited side but they mark the first time a wider range of major TV broadcasters have offered Olympic sports events to consumer audiences in 4K UHD resolution and high dynamic range. This is indeed a milestone achievement, even if it means enjoying the sports events in question on a one day delay.

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