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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AT&T-owned satellite service offers U.S. subscribers first live baseball games in UHD format

AT&T’s DirecTV continues to double down on high-end features and programming, in a bid to lure new customers and counter the ongoing threat of cord-cutting.

The satellite broadcaster announced a deal to deliver up to 25 MLB Network games live in 4K Ultra UHD this season — the first time Major League Baseball games will be available to U.S. viewers in the format, which offers about four times the resolution of 1080p HD. The telecasts will not be available in high dynamic range (HDR), which offers a richer palette of colors and contrast.

Ultra HD is beginning to take root, but it’s still relatively small. About 6.3 million UHD sets shipped in North America last year, forecast to double this year to 12 million units, according to research firm IHS.

DirecTV’s 4K baseball coverage will begin Friday, April 15, with the MLB Network Showcase game between the L.A. Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The game, called by MLB Network’s Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and Sam Ryan, will mark the first-ever live 4K UHD telecast of a Major League Baseball game in the U.S. Other upcoming games (subject to local TV blackout restrictions) are set to include the Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals April 19 and the Yankees at Red Sox on April 29 and 30.

Last week, DirecTV delivered the first live sports 4K UHD broadcast in the U.S. with Amen Corner from the Masters golf tournament. The satcaster was the first pay-TV provider to deliver 4K UHD VOD programming in November 2014, as well as the first to launch a full-time 4K channel travel shows, nature documentaries and original series.

To watch 4K UHD programming, DirecTV customers must have the latest Genie HD DVR (HR54) and either a DirecTV 4K Ready TV or a compatible UHD TV connected to the latest 4K Genie Mini.

Pictured above: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw

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