Following its initial VOD-focused foray into the world of 4K, DirecTV is gearing up to deliver live 4K broadcasts during next month’s Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
AT&T, which acquired DirecTV last July, said it will offer all four rounds of tournament play (April 7-10, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET) in the pixel-packed format, but will limit 4K coverage to “Amen Corner,” the common reference to Augusta National’s 11th, 12th and 13th holes.
The live 4K broadcast will be offered to DirecTV subscribers with UHD TVs (supporting a minimum of 60 frames per second) who take the pay TV provider’s Ultimate or Premier package with an authorized 4K customer account. They’ll also need a new Genie HD box (HR54 model), or a DirecTV 4K-ready TV or a compatible 4K TV (HDMI 2.0-complaint interface and HDCP 2.2 content security) connected to DirecTV’s latest 4K-capable Genie Mini device. DirecTV introduced the 4K Genie Mini in August 2015.
Coverage of the Masters tournament in the new format, which supports about four times the pixels as an HDTV signal, comes amid anticipated debut of a new DirecTV 4K channel in April that will include UHD/4K fare from its Audience Network, documentaries and other content.
DirecTV booted up its 4K activity in November 2014 when it introduced a limited library of VOD content in Ultra HD.
Among other U.S. MVPDs, Comcast offers a 4K streaming app for Samsung TVs, and is developing 4K-capable boxes for its X1 platform that will support High Dynamic Range (HDR). Dish Network’s recently launched Hopper 3 DVR supports 4K.
DirecTV is the latest MVPD to use the Masters to showcase an emerging TV technology. In 2010, Comcast distributed a portion of the 2010 event that was produced in 3D.