If you have an Xbox One, your football viewing is about to get that much better. Microsoft is bringing sports coverage at 60 frames per second to the gaming console, which is double the frame rate of typical sports events broadcasted live on TV.
Microsoft recently partnered with streaming specialist NeuLion to bring the high-speed streaming service to Xbox One. They will be able to deliver around-the-clock live sports programming, as well as on demand coverage and a slew of live status updates, like the ones needed to monitor Fantasy Football.
NeuLion uses a cloud-based platform to supply the rapid succession of frames to the entertainment console. NeuLion will do the encoding, transcoding, and formatting of streams, while the Xbox One uses its speedy video card and processing system to deliver the final product.
There is currently no viewing option in 1080p HD resolution—the highest is 720p HD resolution at 60 frames per second and the lowest is below SD resolution at 30 frames per second. Yet according to CED magazine, ESPN and many other sports networks have often said that a faster frame rate is preferable to higher resolution images. The lower resolution, supplied at seven different tiers, will prevent any buffering. An occasional hiccup, affecting pixelation or frame rate, may occur depending on the user's network connection and/or bandwith.
Just to add a frame of reference, almost all TV's are 60 Hz capable, which means that they can support 60 frames per second. But since most movies are filmed at 24 fps (frames per second) and the picture quality is hardly disturbed, you are probably watching broadcasts, including on DirecTV, at a 1080p/24hz. You can manually change your TV set to 60 Hz, but in most instances when you watch shows or movies, the adjustment visually will be so minor that it won't matter in the long run.
To watch the fast-paced coverage, you need to have a subscription to a cable service that has the channel in addition to an Xbox Live Gold membership. So in order to stream live from the NFL Network app on your Xbox One, you will need to pay up for a cable package too. Hopefully though, Microsoft will be able to eventually provide the service while bypassing cable networks.