Skip to main content

How to watch Super Bowl 2021 in 4K

Patrick Mahomes at the AFC Championship, January 2021.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs QB at the AFC Championship match January 24, 2021. (Image credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

4K TV owners, this one’s gonna suck. You can’t watch Super Bowl 2021 in 4K, or even HDR this year.

CBS, which have the broadcast rights to Super Bowl LV, told The Verge that they will not be showing the Super Bowl in 4K. They said that the main reason behind their decision was “production limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Never mind that CBS hadn't previously done anything in 4K — and that there will be 4K and 8K cameras at the game.)

Rather than prioritizing 4K resolution, CBS Sports Digital instead promised they’d be “focusing on ensuring that streams are reliable and low-latency for this year’s broadcast.’ So, whilst the lack of 4K is saddening, we should be able to watch the Super Bowl without fear of interruption or disconnection.

FOX showed a selection of football matches in 2019 and 2020, leading up to showing the Super Bowl in 4K for the first time ever last year. It wasn’t perfect 4K footage, though.

Given sports coverage requires dozens of cameras to shoot from all the best angles across the pitch, FOX’s 4K football streams were actually shot in 1080p and HDR. FOX then upscaled this footage to 4k for the actual broadcast.

Given CBS and NBC swapped coverage this year so NBC has both the Winter Olympics and the 2022 Super Bowl, it's a little frustrating that CBS has no 4K options for the biggest game of the season.

At the very least, CBS did conclude by saying that CBS Sports Digital "remains committed to offering more live sports in 4K and HDR in the future," so hopefully we'll be able to bank on 4K football in the future. For now, though, you'll have to settle with watching on a regular streaming service like FuboTV or  CBS All Access.

Who's playing in Super Bowl 2021?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida in Super Bowl LV. This marks the first ever time a team has competed in and hosted the Super Bowl in the same year... making the face that we don't have a chance to watch Super Bowl 2021 in 4K even worse.

When is Super Bowl 2021?

Super Bowl LV takes place on Sunday, February 7th, 2021. It kicks off at 6:30pm EST.