Super Bowl 2022 in 4K isn't happening — and here's who to blame

A hand holds a remote in front of a TV with the NFL logo on it
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Anyone who's bought a big 4K TV with dreams of watching Super Bowl 2022 live streams on it in crystal-clear Ultra HD has the same problem. You won't be able to watch Super Bowl 2022 in 4K (or see all of the Super Bowl 2022 commercials in UHD either). Yes, no matter if you're a cord-cutter or still paying for cable, or someone watching from across the pond, we've all got to deal with the same problem.

That problem? The National Broadcasting Company, aka NBC. The sole distributor (at least in the U.S.) for the 2022 Winter Olympic games has failed to deliver on modern UHD streams. And anyone familiar with NBC's NFL coverage shouldn't be surprised that no part of the game, or even the Super Bowl Halftime Show 2022, will max out at 1080p.

News of NBC's failings broke from The Verge, which quoted Dan Masonson, a spokesperson for NBC Sports, as saying "The game will not be in 4K." No matter how smart your TV is, even if it's one of the best 4K TVs, you're still going to be faking the funk. 

When will the Super Bowl go 4K?

In an era when Disney Plus lets you watch the Marvel movies in 4K, and Netflix Originals are in UHD if you pay more, it's weird that the biggest TV event of the year is still topping out at 1080p.

The Super Bowls in 2021 and 2020, by the way, weren't in 4K either. CBS didn't have 4K ready for Super Bowl LV, and blamed Covid-19 (just like everyone who blamed all their new year's resolutions on the ongoing pandemic). Fox recorded Super Bowl LIV in 1080p and HDR and then upscaled it to 4K, which means anyone who thinks they saw a Super Bowl in true 4K was misinformed.

Where to watch the Super Bowl

Super Bowl on Sling TV ($35 per month)
Super Bowl on Peacock ($5 per month)
Super Bowl on Hulu ($70 per month)

It's not like the public doesn't have good reason to expect the Super Bowl LVI in 4K, either. NBC broadcast some of the Tokyo Olympics in 4K last year, but it was available only for some events and not on Peacock, NBC Universal's streaming service, which will also stream Super Bowl 2022.

Super Bowl 2023, aka Super Bowl LVII, will give us a possible 4K version of the big game. That's because rights for Super Bowl 2023 return to Fox (as the big game rotates between it, NBC and CBS each year), and Fox has been providing 4K streams of select sporting events, according to Sports Video Group News.

Until then, check out our cord-cutter's guide for Super Bowl 2022, to learn about all the options for watching the big game in the U.S., as well as our guide on this year's  Super Bowl TV deals.

We've also posted our guide on how to watch Super Bowl 2022 on Sling TV.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.