There’s nothing better than watching major sporting events in 4K ultra high definition (UHD) resolutions, and French authorities seem to agree. According to FlatpanelsHDthe country will broadcast the Summer Olympics in crisp 4K next year and plans to switch off its HD signal completely by 2029, aiming to broadcast exclusively in UHD from then on – although some content will be upscaled from HD.
This is great news for anyone with one of the best 4K TVs, because while many modern smart TVs can support this higher resolution, watching regular wireless TV has never really benefited from the latest video technology.
In fact, broadcasters in most countries still use SD (standard definition) signals, so regardless of whether you have the best indoor TV antenna, you won’t get a higher quality picture. France has already turned off its SD signal and plans to turn off its HD signal, eventually freeing up more broadcast capacity for better quality 4K.
The country is reportedly the first to start the transition from HD to UHD for terrestrial TV. While 4K sports content is gradually coming to US and UK households, this has been a lot slower as only a few broadcasters support it, so it’s still questionable whether we’ll see a similar rollout here.
Opinion: The US and Britain need to drastically improve their television broadcasting
In today’s streaming era, it’s easy to forget that many over-the-air broadcasts aren’t in 4K. In fact, it’s important to check your account on the best streaming services to get the best possible view. Many of these allow you to upgrade to higher quality resolutions, but often you have to pay for it.
When it comes to watching regular wireless television, the ability to have a 4K picture is even less accessible, especially for those of us living in the US or UK. With LG dropping ATSC 3.0 4K tuners from its 2024 OLED TVs due to a patent battle and Samsung or Sony possibly being next, the future for digital 4K TV broadcasts is even bleaker.
Without a move like France’s to force TV companies to support ATSC 3.0 standard (and create an equivalent system for Britain), we may be stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation, where broadcasting doesn’t move towards 4K is going without TV hardware in place, and TV hardware isn’t going towards 4K without clear broadcast support.
Until new developments take place in this area, we will likely see more and more people continue to switch to other forms of media services, including FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV), as they become more similar to regular TV channels. I’m already firmly in the streaming camp and won’t be making any compromises anytime soon unless the US and UK follow in France’s footsteps.