This year's Super Bowl won't stream in 4K or HDR

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,895   +125
Staff member
Editor's take: Super Bowl LV won’t be available to stream in 4K or HDR this year due to production limitations imposed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Combined with a handful of other changes, this year's big show could look vastly different from what we've come to expect from the championship game.

CBS Sports Digital, the division of CBS Interactive that handles coverage on “digital screens,” confirmed the news to The Verge this week. NBC was originally supposed to air the big game this year but elected to let CBS handle it in exchange for the right to cover Super Bowl LVI in 2022.

Per The Verge, CBS has never offered an NFL game in 4K / HDR before. Previous 4K streams of the Super Bowl were actually shot in 1080P and HDR, and upscaled to 4K for broadcasting.

Super Bowl LV takes place Sunday, February 7, 2021, from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Due to the pandemic, this year’s extravaganza is likely going to be a much more subdued affair. In-person attendance is expected to be capped at around 20 percent capacity and many traditional Super Bowl week festivities will likely be limited or canceled entirely.

Canadian singer the Weeknd is scheduled to perform at halftime.

Things will be different when viewing at home, too. According to a recent report from Hyperbeast, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi have decided not to run any commercials for their sodas during the Super Bowl “due to this year’s social climate.”

Image credit Melinda Nagy, Arina P Habich

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Posts: 20   +31
Bummer. We've had 4k television tech for a decade and there is very little content. And I view the superbowl as a leading indicator of where things are going broadcast wise. Guess we'll wait another year.
Edit: I thought the coolest thing about last years upscale to 4k was that you could clearly see the whole field and all the players on the field in one shot--you get more detail and more action on the screen.
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,965   +6,731
As long as there is plenty of popcorn & beer I won't notice but I may need a wake up call after half time!
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Posts: 53   +54
What does "this years social climate" have to do with soda ads? I would think that keeping an American tradition like the super bowl as normal as possible would be a comfort of sorts for a lot of people.
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Posts: 89   +67
And we finally have official release of ATSC 3 TVs lastyear (from both Samsung and LG), and a number of pilot stations to broadcast it on.

This just screams of laziness (and won't be good for the format's uptake either)

Sir Alex Ice

Posts: 72   +41
I don't understand what the hell the coronavirus has to do with 4k broadcast, it's not infecting 4k equipment.

And no cola commercials due to so called social climate is just bullshit, that's another way to get your brand talked about.



Posts: 1,767   +1,012
I don't understand what the hell the coronavirus has to do with 4k broadcast, it's not infecting 4k equipment....
Probably equipment availability. Cornavirus keep people out of factories and warehouses, lowering supplies and increasing costs. My bet is CBS traded NBC for this superbowl because they (CBS) were planning on using it as an excuse to upgrade their equipment and treat it as a tax write-off. But with the increased prices/decreased supplies, CBS probably did the math and determined they wouldn't make enough money to make it worth it to buy new equipment.

I would expect to see CBS fight for the 2023 superbowl, and that one be in 4k HDR (or even 8k at that point).

Avro Arrow

Posts: 794   +906
TechSpot Elite
Meh, I've watched a crap-tonne of Super Bowls (and even more Grey Cups) in all resolutions and it never really mattered to me as long as it wasn't a snowy signal.

Sure, 4K looks nice but it's kinda like ray-tracing. When you're focused on watching the actual play, you really don't notice it. :D