NBC Announces 4K Plans for Rio Olympics

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Just a few months before the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio, NBC Olympics has announced it will offer its cable, satellite and telco distribution partners 4K coverage of select events on a one-day delay.

The opening and closing ceremonies, swimming, track and field, basketball, the men’s soccer final and judo will be among the Olympics events available in 4K, beginning Aug. 6, the day following the opening ceremony, all the way through Aug. 22, the day after the Games conclude.

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“The Olympics are always at the forefront of innovation, and the 4K content we’re making available to distribution partners is the next step in that tradition,” Dave Mazza, senior VP and CTO of NBC Sports Group and NBC Olympics, told B&C. “Viewers with 4K capability will enjoy the photogenic content we will be passing on, from the athletes to the competition to the pageantry of the Games, all against the backdrop of the spectacular city of Rio.”

In a potential first for a major sporting event, NBC Olympics also announced it would make the opening ceremonies available for distributors in high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos, the next-gen, object-based sound technology.

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NBC Olympics said it will distribute the 4K Ultra High-Def (UHD) coverage provided by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and Japan’s NHK to its U.S. distribution partners, who will each choose how they make the 4K content available to pay TV subscribers. OBS was responsible for choosing which Rio events would get the 4K treatment.

“Since the London Games, OBS and NHK have been working together, experimenting on the future standard of 8K. Substantial recent technological advancements have allowed us to pursue this opportunity further for the Rio Games and to offer a 4K feed for a number of sports, down-converted from the original 8K, to NBC and other interested Rights Holding Broadcasters around the globe,” Yiannis Exarchos, OBS CEO, said in a statement.

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Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, added: “The Olympics have been a consistent driver of technological advancements, and Rio will be no different. The stunning backdrop of Rio combined with the world-class competition of the Olympics will give the American audience a spectacular early look at this impressive new technology.”