MLS Season Pass to broadcast games in 1080p but not 4K

Technical details of the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV are beginning to trickle in the run-up to the upcoming season. Major League Soccer previously announced a 10-year deal with Apple to broadcast every game in the American-Canadian top flight. That deal begins later this month for the 2023 campaign.

One potentially disappointing aspect of the MLS Season Pass is the fact that 4K will not be available. Matches broadcast on the MLS Season Pass will be streamed in 1080p only. However, this might not be a drastic deal.

1080p should be fine for the MLS Season Pass if the frame rate is high

tech website digital trends recently discussed the differences between sporting events broadcast in 4K versus 1080p. They claim that broadcasting TV shows or movies in 4K is much easier and cheaper than broadcasting live sports in this format.

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In essence, the unpredictability of sporting events can cause problems in 4K. Because this format has four times the resolution of 1080p, there are more challenges than traditional HD. As digital trends it says: “More pixels, more problems.”

However, not all 1080p is created equal. Frame rate is an important factor in determining the quality of a stream. Assuming the MLS Season Pass streams are decent frames per second, there shouldn’t be any real issues with image quality.

Sound quality, screen graphics also announced

In addition to streaming in 1080p, MLS games on Apple include Dolby 5.1 audio. This is essentially surround sound as 5 in 5.1 represents the number of speakers needed for a home theater experience. Viewers need the five-speaker setup to get full surround sound. Although it’s obviously not necessary to enjoy MLS.

Apple’s MLS Season Pass coverage will also include new data and graphics throughout the season. These graphs will include storylines, stats, and advanced data visualizations on screen.

Production company IMG Productions will help deliver the MLS Season Pass content to viewers. “We’re excited to be part of this transformative new partnership between MLS and Apple, and we look forward to bringing the highest level of innovation to fans around the world in their live coverage,” said Barney Francis, executive vice president and head of IMG Productions global production.

“Selection for this large-scale production is a testament to our industry-leading experience, expertise and excellence in producing live football games for viewers around the world. With the opening of our new base in North America, this also marks an important milestone in the global expansion of IMG’s manufacturing business.”

The MLS Season Pass can be purchased through the Apple TV app for $14.99 per month. There is also an annual pass for $99 per season.


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