Giant U.S. cable multisystem operator Comcast confirmed that it will be offering its Xfinity cable TV subscribers with X1 boxes coverage of the Tokyo Summer Olympics for the first time live in 4K UHD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos surround sound.

Some of the details had been disclosed earlier, but the new element to Tuesday’s formal announcement is that Comcast said it will be producing the 4K HDR coverage using the Dolby Vision HDR profile for TV customers with compatible X1 equipment and 4K/HDR TVs. For those unfamiliar with the dynamic metadata-enabled HDR profile, Dolby Vision will default to the baseline HDR10 static metadata HDR profile on most 4K HDR TVs that are not Dolby Vision enabled. A Comcast spokesperson confirmed to HD Guru that the Dolby Vision metadata “will support/downscale to HDR10,” making some level of HDR available to most 4K/HDR-enabled television owners with Xfinity X1 service.

High dynamic range profiles based on dynamic metadata like Dolby Vision allow grading for expanded color and brightness cues in an image on a shot-by-shot basis, where baseline HDR10 (PQ) uses static metadata that keeps the parameters from color and brightness cues at a constant range throughout a program. The result is that Dolby Vision typically presents a more natural viewing experience on better television sets.

Comcast, which is the parent of NBCUniversal, the host network for the U.S. coverage of the games, covered the 2018 Winter Olympics from Pyeongyang S. Korea on tape delay in 4K/HDR with Comcast/NBCUniversal using 4K/HDR10 profile only, while some distribution partners like DirecTV presented it in 4K/HLG affording on-the-fly HDR that isn’t metadata dependent, although the enhanced resolution coverage was still available from the satcaster only on tape delay.

DirecTV has not yet formally announced its plans for Olympics 4K/HDR coverage, if any.

“For years, X1 has set the bar as the most innovative and technologically-advanced Olympics viewing experience. This year, new features make navigating the Games even easier and more personalized, taking the Olympics experience to a new level,” stated Rebecca Heap, Comcast Cable senior VP of video and entertainment services. “And now with Flex, we have the opportunity to leverage some of the best features of X1, like our voice remote and aggregated guide, to introduce the Olympics and all its passion, exhilaration and glory to even more Xfinity customers.”

The network had previously said it will provide primetime coverage, and the opening and closing ceremonies in 4K (3840 x 2160) HDR with Dolby Atmos. It will be using The Golf Channel and the Olympic Channel to carry some 4K HDR coverage of track & field, gymnastics, swimming, diving, beach volleyball, golf, tennis and other events.

The company also offered more details on how viewers can catch the games and many of the services advanced and interactive features, including high resolution with interactive features and Dolby Vision HDR of X1 customers.

Customers with Xfinity Flex media streaming boxes will get an “X1-like Olympics destination that brings all the Olympics-related programming available to stream on the platform into one integrated experience easily accessible by saying `Olympics’ into the Xfinity Voice Remote.”

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This will be part of the Peacock streaming app’s live and on-demand programming “offered at no extra cost to all Flex customers, including six themed channels; four live-studio shows; live coverage of gymnastics, track & field and the US Men’s Basketball Team, hundreds of short-form highlights and trending news clips; and several original docuseries and documentaries. Peacock’s programming will be seamlessly curated alongside other Olympic-related programming from streaming services such as YouTube, HBO Max, Prime Video and more.”

“Flex customers wanting to experience more of the Games can quickly and easily upgrade to Xfinity TV via the Stream app so they can access NBC’s live coverage, including the Opening Ceremony and nightly Primetime Show, Telemundo and special access to Olympic Channel and Universo directly on their Flex device,” the company said.

Xfinity X1 cable customers will have access to the “premiere Olympics viewing experience, offering aggregated, curated and personalized access to all 7,000 hours of NBCUniversal’s live, on demand, and streaming coverage of the Games – all in one place – on the TV and across mobile devices with the Xfinity Stream app.”

Viewers can access coverage options vocally by saying “Olympics” into the Xfinity Voice Remote to be taken to an Olympics destination, while special spoken ques for athletes, sports, teams and featured nations will allow customers to get to desired Olympics content quickly.

Comcast said the X1 destination will include the following:

  • The first-ever fully-personalized experience across devices. X1’s new personalization capabilities will allow customers to choose their favorite sports in just a few clicks to customize their Olympics destination, and to find live coverage alongside highlights of each chosen sport curated into personalized playlists. Any `favorited’ sports will carry over to the Xfinity Stream app, to see the same experience on the go.
  • Notifications for must-see momentsCustomers will also have the option to receive notifications for favorite sports and get live tune-in alerts for major moments and quick links to trending highlights directly on their TV and/or mobile device.
  • 100 editorially-curated playlists. Curated and updated play lists will be available in real-time from Xfinity sports editors offering trending videos and breaking news. Each playlist will let customers lean in to choose the highlights they want to see or lean back and watch the stories of the Games unfold. More than 30 playlists dedicated to each Olympic sport, will be available for the most-popular athletes, and more than a dozen themed playlists, including “Gold Medal Moments,” “Best of Team USA,” “Record-Breakers,” “Epic Celebrations” and more.
  • Live coverage in 4K HDR. For the first time ever, the Olympics will be available live in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos immersive audio, and X1 will offer customers full access. And for the first time, X1 customers with compatible devices will be able to experience all HDR coverage in Dolby Vision HDR. Live coverage will be available in most markets and include every night of the NBC primetime show, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, along with popular sports like gymnastics, track & field, swimming, diving, beach volleyball, golf, and tennis.
  • Sport, Athlete, and Nation pagesEvery sport, top athlete and major nation will have their own voice-enabled X1 destination, blending live, on demand and short form programming so that customers can stay up to date on the sports, personalities and teams they care about most. Each page will be refreshed and updated daily and showcase programming that’s airing now, upcoming coverage, and the best highlights and replays.
  • Spanish-language coverage and specialized experience. X1 and Stream will bring NBCUniversal’s 300 hours of Spanish-language coverage to customers at home or on the go, and special in-language voice commands, such as “Olimpiadas,” “natacion” and “medallero,” will help customers navigate the Games in Spanish.
  • Audio Description enabled for key Olympic moments. Audio description will be enabled on the Olympics primetime show and Opening and Closing ceremonies (including the 4K version) so visually impaired customers can enjoy the excitement of the Games with their friends and family.”

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By Greg Tarr

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