MastersAT&T revealed Wednesday that its DirecTV satellite TV service will carry live coverage of the 2016 Masters Golf Tournament in 4K Ultra HDTV, April 7-10, 2016.

The live 4K Masters event from the Augusta National Golf Course (pictured at top) will be the plumb in the forthcoming launch of a new, dedicated DirecTV 4K Channel on April 4th, which will begin ahead of the tournament as part of the AT&T DirecTV Ultimate and Premier packages.

In addition to carrying the Masters 4K coverage beginning on April 7th, DirecTV said the new 24/7-DirecTV 4K Channel will air high-quality 4K content from its Audience Network, documentaries and other content.

Read more on DirecTV’s airing of The Masters in 4K UHD after the jump:

DirecTV said it would air all four rounds of the Masters on its new 4K Ultra HD channel from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time each day of the event, April 7-10th. Coverage will take place from the Amen Corner feed which represents portions of the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National Golf Club, the satcaster said.

In order to get the live experience on the DirecTV 4K Channel, DirecTV subscribers will need to sign up for a DirecTV Ultimate or Premier pack with an authorized 4K customer account, have the latest Genie HD DVR (model HR54), and, for secondary room viewing, have a DirecTV 4K-ready TV or a compatible 4K TV connected to the latest Genie Mini remote-room thin-client box.

For existing subscribers, the Ultimate package starts at $91.99 a month while the Premier plan starts at $144.99 a month.

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DirecTV has long been among the first programming providers to launch programming for new high resolution technologies. In 2001, the satcaster offered three HD channels. It also introduced four different 3D TV channels in 2010 to feed, at the time, new generation 3D TVs, which for various reasons ultimately failed to build their market position. DirecTV currently offers only one 3D Movie channel.

Meanwhile, the Masters has been broadcast every year in high-definition television since 2000, when it became one of the first golf tournaments in HD. It aired without commercials, although no announcement has been made on whether or not the first 4K Masters coverage will be sponsored. Early round coverage of The Masters previously aired in HD on USA’s sister network, Universal HD.

In 2008, ESPN replaced USA and Universal as the weekday coverage provider, with coverage continuing to be jointly produced with CBS.

The new DirecTV/CBS announcement was made in the face of a new survey conducted for multi-screen video and ad management solutions company Imagine Communications, which found a large percentage of TV broadcasters and media companies are unwilling to make new investments to support broadcasting in 4K Ultra HD.

The primary reason cited was a belief that there is insufficient desire by consumers to upgrade from HD TV.

According to the study of 700 broadcast and media professionals, nearly 50 percent expect it will take more than two years to achieve market demand needed to justify a 4K upgrade investment, another 28 percent believe it will take at least one more year.

In the next couple of years, broadcasters will be faced with the decision of whether or not to offer programming in 4K UHD as a value-added capability in the forthcoming ATSC 3.0 broadcast system. That system, which is being assembled now, will be implemented around the country on a market-by-market basis, with broadcasters cooperating with each other and in some cases even sharing spectrum to make a wide range of new capabilities available. In addition to 4K video broadcasting, that system could add things like next-gen. object based surround sound, transmission of broadcast TV to mobile devices, and more robust signal reception.

The 4K Masters broadcast could be a test case for how quickly that new broadcast platform transpires.

By Greg Tarr


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