NBC's Broadcast of the Beijing Olympics in UHD/HDR Will Mark a First for the Winter Games

NBC Olympics
(Image credit: NBC Olympics)

STAMFORD, CT.—NBC announced this week that its upcoming broadcast of the Winter Olympics will mark the first time the Winter Games are being presented in 4K/HDR to U.S. viewers. NBC Sports will provide live coverage of the NBC broadcast network’s Olympics primetime and Prime Plus shows in certain markets in UHD/HDR with ATMOS audio.

Last summer NBC provided its first ever UHD/HDR coverage of the Summer Games in Tokyo. 

Like it did in Tokyo, NBC’s primetime coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will also be presented in 4K HDR. Events which will be featured in 4K HDR during the Winter Olympics primetime and Prime Plus shows include figure skating, skiing, snowboarding, hockey, bobsled, and other sports. Prime Plus follows the late local news in most markets and often features live competition given the time difference between Beijing and the U.S.

NBCUniversal will distribute the 4K HDR coverage to U.S. distribution partners, who will individually choose how to make the content available to their customers. YouTube TV, which carried NBC's UHD feed during the Tokyo Games announced earlier this month that it will carry NBC's 4K from Beijing as well.

“The Winter Olympics provide some of the most amazing moments and stunning visuals in the world of sports,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “We’re excited to once again bring the American audience closer to all of the incredible action with our live primetime and Prime Plus shows utilizing this remarkable 4K HDR technology.”

Dave Mazza, senior vice president and CTO for NBC Sports Group and NBC Olympics reflected on the network’s work on providing UHD coverage of the Games. 

“We started down a path with 4K and HDR in earnest for the Tokyo Olympics, and were successfully able to produce those images to many of our affiliates, which was a groundbreaking feat,” he said. “That was a big effort to both get the HDR done and produce all of the content in 4K/HDR and be able to down-convert it to regular HD/SDR without causing any damage to the regular HD pictures while still having the stunning pictures over on the 4K/HDR side. As a result of the success, we are continuing the same thing for the Winter Olympics.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.