Earlier today, the NBA teamed up with BT Sport and Rogers for the first live, 4K Ultra HD broadcast in league history.
At 3 pm ET on January 14, 2016, the Orlando Magic squared off with the Toronto Raptors at the O2 in London and the contest was made available to those with 4K Ultra HD TVs via BT Sport’s Ultra High Definition channel in the U.K. and Rogers 4K in Canada. The NBA has captured a game in 4K before, but last year’s New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks contest — which took place at the NBA Global Games London 2015 — was available by invite only and was only offered to an exclusive list of NBA and BT Sport executives.
Thursday’s broadcast was produced using a specialized 4K-production truck and was shot using several, state-of-the-art 4K cameras capable of delivering 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution. Regular high-definition broadcasts, on the other hand, top out at a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
The NBA’s foray into 4K comes less than three months after the league broadcast the first live professional sports contest in virtual reality on opening night of the 2015 season. That game pitted the NBA champion Golden State Warriors against the New Orleans Pelicans, and the VR live-stream also included the pre-game championship ring ceremony.
For those interested in the results of Thursday’s match-up, the Toronto Raptors bested the Orlando Magic in overtime by a score of 106-103. Though the game was a big step forward for live sports, the Magic are probably too busy licking their wounds to notice.
No word yet on when this technology will be utilized in a domestic NBA broadcast, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as fans in the United States can watch LeBron, Durant, Curry and the rest in glorious 4K Ultra HD.