NBCUniversal announced Thursday that it will offer live coverage of the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (July 23-Aug. 8, 2021) in 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound for the first time to carriage partners, although it will be up to individual service distributors and broadcast stations what resolution format they choose to deliver to viewers.

The network said it will provide primetime coverage, and the opening and closing ceremonies in 4K (3840 x 2160) HDR with Dolby Atmos surround for the first time, live. The Golf Channel and the Olympic Channel will carry 4K HDR coverage of track & field, gymnastics, swimming, diving, beach volleyball, golf, tennis and other events.

“The Olympics have been a consistent driver of technological advancements, and even with the challenges of the past year, Tokyo will be no different,” said Gary Zenkel, president of the NBC Olympics unit. “With the rich cultural backdrop of Tokyo combined with the world-class competition of the Olympics, we’re excited to provide the American audience a look at the Games and, for the first time, the live Olympics primetime show with this impressive new 4K HDR technology.”

In the past, the winter Olympics coverage from Pyongyang S. Korea was presented on tape delay in 4K/HDR with Comcast/NBCUniversal carrying it in 4K/HDR10 high dynamic range, while some distribution partners like DirecTV presented it in 4K/HLG.

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Satellite and Cable TV providers — including Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal — have not yet announced what resolution formats they will be using to present the Summer games coverage to their subscribers.

NBCSports will produce more than 7,000 hours of coverage in ultra-high resolution for use on various networks and streaming platforms.

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By Greg Tarr

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