Ladies and gentlemen, in case you haven’t noticed over the last couple of days, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil began this week, and tonight is the night to catch the much-anticipated 4K Ultra HD coverage of the Opening Ceremonies in what is sure to be a spectacularly colorful affair – It is Rio, after all.

For those of you not lucky enough to be at the event in person, the next best thing is to catch the action in glorious 4K Ultra HD resolution from the NBC Network via supporting linear satellite TV channels on DirecTV and DISH and on a streaming TV app from Comcast cable on supporting Samsung and LG 4K Ultra HDTV models. Unfortunately, that won’t include others.

NBC has announced that it plans to present 83 hours of the event in 4K high-resolution video starting with the Opening Ceremonies August 5th (tonight and tomorrow morning) and running through August 21st.

NBC’s 4K Ultra HD productions are scheduled to include both the opening (tonight) and closing ceremonies, select events in swimming, track and field, judo, and basketball, plus the men’s soccer final. At least one event from the previous day’s competition will be shown in 4K Ultra HD every day.

Read more on the 4K Ultra HD Olympics coverage plans after the jump:

But for the sports events themselves, 4K fans will have to keep their heads in the sand for 24 hours if they don’t want the results of the event winners spoiled. There will be a one-day delay between when an event takes place and the time it airs on 4K telecasts in United States.

The opening and closing ceremonies are the exceptions, and will be shown starting at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT tonight on a 2.5-hour delay. They will be shown again on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET. The closing ceremonies will be offered on August 21st at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

But those who do manage to keep the sportscasts at bay will be rewarded with not only 4K Ultra HDTV resolution but high dynamic range (HDR) brightness and expanded color highlights as well.

There is another big problem for a lot of 4K TV owners, however. The delivery of this content will be limited to only a few of the largest cable and satellite TV providers, namely: Comcast cable, which is streaming the programming to owners of compatible Samsung and LG Ultra HD smart TVs via the Xfinity Ultra High Definition Sampler app; as well as DirecTV and DISH subscribers who have the proper 4K Ultra HD-supporting equipment and necessary subscription packages.

DirecTV subs with 4K Ultra HDTVs that also take the provider’s “Ultimate” package or higher will be able to view the NBC coverage of the games in 3840 x 2160.  A Genie HD DVR model HR54 or later or 4K TV connected to a 4K Genie Mini will be required.

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DISH subscribers with 4K Ultra HDTVs will require a Hopper 3 DVR and/or a 4K Joey set-top to receive the 4K Olympics footage on linear channel 146. One event from the previous day will be provided each day on the channel on a continuous loop in three-hour intervals. The same coverage will be available in Dish’s video-on-demand catalog.

Residents of Chattanooga, Tenn. will also be able to view the events in 4K Ultra HD via the city’s EPB municipal broadband/TV service.

For those lucky ones, we have included below the schedule showing which sports, from the previous day, will be featured over the participating services (times ET; schedule subject to change):

August 5: Opening Ceremony (same day: 9:00p ET, 10:00p PT)

August 6: Opening Ceremony (9:00a)

August 7: Judo (9:00a)

August 8: Judo (9:00a)

August 9: Judo (9:00a)

August 10: Judo, Swimming (9:00a)

August 11: Swimming (11:30a)

August 12: Swimming (11:30a)

August 13; Swimming (12:00p)

August 14: Track & Field, Swimming (12:00p)

August 15: Track & Field (12:00p)

August 16: Track & Field (12:00p)

August 17: Track & Field (12:00p)

August 18: Track & Field, Basketball (12:00p)

August 19: Basketball (12:00p)

August 20: Basketball (12:00p)

August 21: Soccer, Basketball (8:00a), Closing Ceremony (same day: 9:00p ET, 10:00p PT)

For anyone just returning from Jupiter, 4K Ultra HDTV provides up to four times (3840x2160p) the resolution of Full HD 1080p. Unless you have a very large screen or sit very close, that resolution might be hard to discern, but the accompanying HDR should deliver a very noticeable improvement in brightness, full colors and greater detail in very dark and very bright areas of the picture.

On top of that, anyone with equipment to support the new Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound format will get the extra immersive experience of multichannel audio that envelops the listener from all angles (including overhead) and simulates the sound of on-screen objects in motion. You’ll need a specially equipped AV receiver and speaker set-up with supported height channels or a Dolby Atmos sound bar in order to enjoy the full effects of this new system.

As for the future, the Rio Olympics coverage being shown now in 4K Ultra HD is actually shot with 8K cameras. That NHK Super Hi-Vision HD resolution video will be down converted to 4K, but 8K content will be available to view in Japan and one day, we hope, on 8K TVs here. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for it, though.)

By Greg Tarr


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