After a year’s worth of delays, the Olympic Games are here. If you want to watch the events in crisp and clear 4K, including the upcoming men’s 10m diving finals, then we have everything you need to know – whether you’re in the UK or US.
You can read more about the games themselves in our round-up for the Tokyo Olympic Games and find out how to catch more sporting events such as the English & Irish Lions rugby tour of South Africa and The Hundred.
Are the Olympic Games broadcast in 4K HDR?
Yes, although not all events are available in this format – see down below for what we know will be. 4K HDR streaming differs depending on where you’re based, so we have details for both the UK and US below.
Before we tell you where you can stream, you’ll need to make sure you have a 4K TV, a streaming device that supports this quality and either a wired internet connection, or wireless internet speeds that are at least 24Mbps for the full 3840p or 12Mbps for 2560p.
How to watch the Olympic Games in 4K in UK
There are three broadcasters in the UK for the Olympics: BBC, Eurosport and Discovery+.
Eurosport has confirmed that it will be broadcasting the games in 4K for Sky Q customers and Virgin V6 customers with the channel in their package.
HDR content in 4K Ultra HD resolution will be available via the Eurosport 4K channel by pressing the red button on Sky remotes, or by heading to the channel 523 on Virgin.
You’ll need a box that supports this format (older Sky Q ones don’t), a TV which supports the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) HDR format and the right Sky package to stream HDR.
If you have Sky’s UHD subscription, you’re good to go. If not, then you can sign up for a free three month trial via the Sky VIP app. If you’re not yet signed up for Sky Q, you can do so on the Sky website.
Virgin customers will need a package with 4K content included, and either a V6 box or a Virgin 360 box which supports 4K.
Though the BBC did broadcast some Euro 2020 games in 4K resolution via iPlayer, this won’t be the case for the Olympics.
According to an interview with Ron Chakraborty, Lead Executive, Major Events at BBC Sport in ibc.org, the plans to “backhaul 4K streams back to the UK for production was deemed too costly in terms of bandwidth.”
The BBC terrestrial channels do not broadcast in 4K either. Discovery+ will also not be streaming the games in 4K.
If you can’t get Sky Q/Virgin but still want to watch the Olympics in 4K, you can try signing up for YouTube TV with the use of a VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network. This re-routes your IP address, so you can browse the internet as if you’re from another country.
YouTube TV is a streaming service that is only available in the US – you can read more about the pricing here.
However, be warned that you’ll only be able to sign up if you have a bank account that’s tied to the US, and a US address and phone number (which can be randomly assigned online).
NordVPN is our top recommendation, but you can take a look at other options in our list of the best VPNs for streaming. If you want to sign up for YouTube TV, you’ll need to connect to a US server.
How to watch Olympic Games in 4K in US
NBC has confirmed that for the first time, it will broadcast the Olympics in 4K HDR, with support for Dolby Atmos sound support. It will distribute the footage to channels, who will choose whether or not they will air it.
You’ll have to ensure that you have your NBC channel included in your local TV package – 4K is available for Xfinity customers. Check the website for more information. Dish Network and DirecTV will also have 4K coverage available if you have a set-top box with one of these providers.
Though Peacock is an option for those who prefer to stream, this service won’t be broadcasting the games in 4K resolution, nor will the NBC app.
There is another way to stream the Olympics in 4K in the US. You can do this by signing up for YouTube TV, which features four dedicated channels for 4K Olympic channels: NBC 4K, NBC Sports 4K, Olympic Channel 4K, and Golf Channel 4K.
However, this doesn’t come cheap. YouTube TV costs $64.99 per month, whilst the 4K add-on has a 30-day free trial available, and is then $9.99 (for the first year, and then $19.99 after). There is currently $10 off the usual sign-up cost.
Fortunately, you can cancel this at any time, so this is more flexible than signing up for an entire TV package just for 4K Olympic coverage.
Once you’re signed up for YouTube TV with the 4K add-on, just ensure that your streaming quality is set to the highest possible by clicking on the settings wheel icon.
In addition, Fubo TV is also offering 4K coverage at no extra cost for customers based in the following cities: New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX and Boston, MA (Manchester, NH).
Fubo TV costs $64.99 per month, but new customers can get a seven-day free trial. You can sign up for Fubo TV here.
Which events will be in 4K HDR?
It’s likely that not every single event will be available in 4K. So far, NBC Universal has confirmed the following events will be:
Track & Field
Sky confirmed that over 200 hours worth of events will be in this format. However, it didn’t specify what events these will be. If we hear anything more, we’ll update this article.