The Olympics looked amazing and so far, so do the All Blacks. And they all look even better for those with a big full-HD (1080p), UHD (Ultra-High-Def) or HDR (High Dynamic Range) TV. I’ve been trying this out watching as much sport as I can on a Samsung UHD TV.
Sport screened in 1080p and upscaled to UHD (2160p) looks fantastic. The details on the field are perfect to the point where close-ups let you see blades of grass, while long shots still show the facial features of players (helpful when you can’t see their numbers).
It’s also incredibly helpful for sports with small, fast moving balls, like cricket, baseball and golf. Instead of trying to figure out where the ball is you can see it clearly on screen.
As well as showing more detail, newer TVs allow for higher refresh rates. The refresh rate is the number of times per second that the image on screen is changed to create motion. So when you’re watching sports (or playing video games) a faster rate is preferable.
For those with newer TVs you can even play referee at home. The TMOs might be working overtime but if you want to win an argument with your friends over a call or point out what the refs missed you can use your TV’s built-in hard drive to live pause and rewind. You can even zoom in to get a better view. When you hit play again the game will start where you left off. If you time it right you can flick back to the live broadcast and miss that annoying half-time break. This isn’t just a feature of services like MySky – it’s built-in with new Samsung TVs (it’s called “Rugby Mode” here and “Football Mode” overseas).
There are lots of ways to get hi-def sports on your TV. One of the deciding factors is the sport you want to watch. There are a number of streaming services that offer hi-def video subscriptions to various sports, including NRL, MLB, NBA, NFL, WWE, Premier League and PGA golf.
You can use Apple TV or Chromecast to stream them through your TV. Some services offer Smart TV apps, to remove a step, but the quality of the apps can vary greatly. Of course you can also subscribe to Sky’s sports channels and add an HD upgrade, but that’s the most expensive option. Instead you could try Sky’s FanPass service which offers cheaper subscriptions to Sky’s sport channels and streams in HD.
One thing is clear: once you’ve seen sport in UHD you’ll never want to go back.