6:00am PT by Carolyn Giardina
AT&T's New 4K DirecTV Channel Will Tee Off With Masters Tournament
AT&T will launch its new DirecTV dedicated 4K Ultra HD channel this month, starting with live 4K coverage of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
The coverage will feature four rounds of play, April 7-10, at Amen Corner, a common reference to the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National.
To accomplish this 4K broadcast — meaning in four times the resolution of HD — the company is working with CBS, which is shooting with Sony 4K cameras and using a 4K-ready broadcast truck from Mobile TV Group.
The service is enabled by two new DirecTV satellites. In addition to live sports coverage, DirecTV aims to offer studio movies, documentaries and other prerecorded content, as well as 4K PPV.
Customers with DirecTV’s top-tier Ultimate or Premiere package subscriptions can view the 4K programming with the latest version of DirecTV’s Genie HD DVR, as well as either a DirecTV 4K-ready TV or a compatible 4K TV connected to the latest 4K Genie Mini.
This early 4K channel launch underscores a big topic in broadcasting, which will be discussed at the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters Show, starting on April 16 in Las Vegas. At NAB, broadcasters will be debating the business potential of new features such as 4K and high dynamic range.
“We’re very active in the committees, aiming to also add HDR as well as a high frame rates of 60 frames per second and increased color space," said AT&T's senior vp satellite operations Phil Goswitz, noting that includes work with the UHD Alliance and UHD Forum. “We have a platform that’s ready. But in terms of a standardized solution for all television, [the industry's] not there yet."