It’s bad enough FOX has got most of their World Cup announcers sitting in a studio in Los Angeles 5,000 miles away from where the tournament is being played in Russia. What makes it worse is the audio delay on the 4k feed from FOX.
Specifically, this is the difference between the audio commentary that gets strung into the video feed on DirecTV’s 4k channels 105 and 106. It’s way off and not even worth having the volume turned up. Dish presumably has the same audio/video sync problem, but Comcast, since they only offer the matches On Demand, could theoretically fix the delay.
But let’s drill FOX a bit more for the fact that most of their announcing team, which has been criticized for their lack of experience and international diversity, is as mentioned above sitting in a studio in Los Angeles. They are missing the fans, the weather, the smells, and all the things that happen in the stands, sidelines, and away from the camera that make the World Cup such a spectacle.
Most of the commentators are not able to call the matches simultaneously with the live action, and soccer fans know it.
Given their remote location response to the live soccer action is delayed because they are watching the matches the same way most of us do — on TV. FOX, why not just have them stream it at home on a PC so they don’t even have to go into work?
That was sarcasm, by the way. The games called by lead team John Strong and Stu Holden as well as second team JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola are significantly more fun to watch. Why? Because they are in Russia – the only two announcing teams on site!
So enough about the delay from Los Angeles. This article was really directed towards the extreme audio delay on the 4k channels. I’ve switched back and forth from the 4k channels to the HD channels, and while it’s evident most of the announcers are just watching TV and therefore offer nothing special for our ears, the 4k matches are even worse.
When you see a pass, you don’t need to know there was a pass made a second or two later. When you see a goal, there is nothing worse than hearing the announcer call “goal” as the player is already throwing kisses to the fans.
Those of us who are loving the 4k/HDR video are really stuck in a conundrum, and there is no way to fix it. We could potentially pause an audio-only broadcast and try to make it sync with the video, but audio apps don’t really provide an easy way to delay the stream by fractions of a second.
The FIFA World Cup 4k coverage started off with no announcers on the first day, and it may have been a better experience than with late commentaries. One could crank up the volume and imagine being in the stadium.
Unless, somehow this gets fixed by the Round of 16.
Contributing Author: Josh Henderson