The 2022 Super Bowl will no longer be broadcast or streamed in 4K this year when the game takes place on February 13, NBC Sports has confirmed The edge. The lack of a 4K stream marks the second year in a row that the big game won’t be available with the higher level of image quality.
“The game will not be in 4K,” said Dan Masonson, a spokesperson for NBC Sports The edge.
NBC, which hosts the big game this year, has never broadcast an NFL game in 4K or HDR before, despite the nationally televised Sunday Night Football game being held every week during the regular NFL season. NBC, for what it’s worth, isn’t the only network: CBS doesn’t produce any of its games in 4K (the network cited COVID-19 issues due to the lack of a 4K Super Bowl in 2021), nor does ESPN produce Monday Night football.
Fox Sports began broadcasting some of its Thursday Night Football games in 4K in 2019, and three seasons later, it remains the only broadcaster to offer NFL games in 4K/HDR quality. And even that has limitations: Fox only does it for select Thursday night games – and Super Bowl 2020, the only Super Bowl to date to air in 4K – and the footage is actually shot in 1080p and HDR, then upscaled to 4K for broadcast, instead of real, native 4K video.
Still, there was some hope that NBC would manage to pull off Super Bowl LVI in 4K as the network slowly begins to expand its 4K sports offerings. In recent years Tokyo Olympics had an (extremely messy) slate of 4K programming, and the network has already announced plans to broadcast large portions of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in 4K as well.
Part of the problem is that NBC still doesn’t have a 4K distribution method for the vast majority of fans; Last year’s Olympic broadcasts goods in 4K and HDR (some events had Dolby Atmos), but the 4K programming wasn’t actually available in any of NBC’s apps (including the regular NBC app, the NBC Sports app, and Peacock). Instead, the 4K broadcasts were limited to partners like Altice, Xfinity, Fubo TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV, Dish and other cable and over-the-top service with 4K support. And even then, coverage was limited to specific events at specific times in specific TV markets.
Plus, as the only 4K Super Bowl in 2020 showed, broadcasting one of the biggest sports games of the year to the millions of fans tuning in is a huge undertaking: there are the dozens of cameras and slow-motion shots. for instant reruns, the graphics packs and of course the halftime show and the whole series of commercials, all of which need to be converted into a cohesive 4K and HDR pack.
There’s some good news on the horizon for football fans, though: 2023’s Super Bowl LVII is airing on Fox, which could potentially bring us back to a 4K game day — if we’re lucky!