Formula One is at the peak of its pre-season hype cycle, the Netflix Doco Drive to Survive is in the Aussie top 10 most-watched shows, the teams are due to arrive any day now and the social media hype from F1 is intense.
Personally, I have big plans. Well, I did. We’re upgrading our TV – following my usual “Go Big or Go Home” strategy, we’re going from a 65 inch TV to an 85 Inch Hisense in the main lounge room – bring it on.
An 85 inch TV needs a great picture, so my plan was to tune into the Foxtel 4K sports channel and enjoy every session in stunning 4K.
Nope. Not happening.
EFTM confirmed with Fox Sports today that there will not be a 4K broadcast of the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix.
There are 21 rounds in the 2020 F1 Season, 20 of those rounds will enjoy a 4K broadcast from the Sky Sports coverage of the F1 season.
Fox Sports say that due to schedule clashes, it’s not possible to broadcast Formula One in 4K. It requires specific technology, broadcast trucks, cameras and such.
Most important there are the schedule clashes, Round 1 of the NRL season is underway, and Fox Sports coverage of Saturday NRL has three games live, 3pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm. That would clash with F1 Qualifying.
Additionally, there are Australian Cricket games also that weekend.
In a perfect world, the F1 would appear on another channel, however, the 4K broadcasts require a large amount of bandwidth, and while there is a second channel available, that channel has been dedicated to Movies in Ultra HD (4K).
Sadly, with the Melbourne F1 race weekend on Channel 10, Fox Sports share of the audience is lower than usual, so it would be hard for Fox Sports to prioritise this event.
So, the big TVs day to shine will have to wait, and you like me, will need to rely on the power of your TV’s upscaling of a Full HD signal to get the most from your viewing.
Foxtel giveth, and Foxtel taketh away – this is the problem with these times of transition toward a 4K future, last year’s Australian F1 Grand Prix was in 4K. This year it is not. 2018 Bathurst was in 4K, 2019 was not.
We wait patiently for reliable 4K streaming from Kayo perhaps?