Why You Can’t Watch NBC’s 4K Olympic Coverage

Feb 20, 2014  |  by Andrew Ryback

4K coverage is coming to the Winter Olympics, but don’t get too excited.

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4K coverage is coming to the Winter Olympics, but don’t get too excited.  Unless you are invited to a special private party, you won’t be able to watch it.

This year’s Winter Games have been shot in Ultra HD, but due to high costs and the low number of consumer-owned 4K televisions, the revolutionary Olympic coverage will not be available to the public.  Comcast, owner of NBC Universal, said they intended to deliver 4K content to customers, but haven’t done so as programmers and studios haven’t provided the available 4K content.  For Sochi, Comcast and NBC will display 4K highlights privately.

The road from 4K television’s expansion has been a rocky one.  Prices are definitely a problem.  A 70” Sharp 4K goes for over $4,000, while the same size 1080p is only $1,500.  Consumers have been slow to buy thus far, but an expected 500,000 units are to be sold this year in the United States. The equipment to shoot in 4K isn’t cheap either.  A Canon EOS-1D C costs somewhere around $12,000.

If the 4K movement can persuade customers, and programmers latch on to the concept, then it is possible the 2016 Olympics could feature Ultra HD display for the public.  Until then, you’ll just have to read about how great it is.

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