Sports

CBS to air Super Bowl in 4K, but there's a catch

If you're looking to upgrade your TV before the Super Bowl, keep in mind how you access Sunday's game will matter.

Workers prepare the field at Allegiant Stadium ahead of Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas.
Workers prepare the field at Allegiant Stadium ahead of Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas.
Matt York / AP
SMS

For the first time, CBS will air the Super Bowl in 4K resolution, giving fans an ultra-sharp view of the action in Las Vegas. 

While many Americans now have 4K televisions and can watch a plethora of 4K programs on streaming services, finding the Super Bowl in 4K might be more of a challenge. 

For viewers using an over-the-air antenna, the game will not be carried in 4K. Also, those streaming the game on Paramount Plus will have to settle for 1080p. 

Instead, CBS said that it would make the 4K feed available to select Multichannel Video Programming Distributors. Several major distributors said they will make the 4K feed available for viewers. 

For instance, DirecTV said the Super Bowl will be available on 4K, but not by watching a local channel. Instead, viewers will need to go to channel 105 to see the game. 

Similarly, Dish Network customers will need to go to channel 146 to find the game in 4K.

YouTube TV customers subscribed to the 4K Plus add-on can stream the Super Bowl in 4K, parent company Google said.

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FuboTV also said it will make the game available in 4K for those with certain devices. The streamer has a list of 4K-compatible devices on its website.

But many cable companies simply don't have the capability yet to carry 4K broadcasts live, given the large amount of data a 4K signal carries. 

For those unable to view the game in 4K, CBS said the game will be in 1080p HDR. But CBS said even for those without access to 4K, the broadcast quality will be high.

"HDR expands the ability of a television set to better display detail in shadow and bright scenes," CBS said. "Wide Color Gamut (WCG) enables a display to present a broader and more vivid range of colors. Together, HDR and WCG offer viewers a brighter and more colorful viewing experience. "

Another factor to consider is whether a 4K broadcast is even worth it. According to Panasonic, a person would need to sit within 7 feet of a 70-inch television to enjoy the benefits of the higher resolution. 

"If you sit around 9 feet away from your TV, you need a pretty large TV screen to fully appreciate the 4K UHD resolution," Panasonic says.

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