Fox: Playing Games w/Baseball's HD Pix
Washington, D.C. (October 21,
2010) -- Cablevision viewers, do
you have a high-def set? If so, you may think you're missing
Fox's HD coverage of this week's NL Championship Series between
the Phillies and Giants.
(Fox has blacked out its local channels on Cablevision because
the two companies haven't been able to reach a new programming
But here's the reality: You're not missing Fox's HD game
coverage. Why? Because it's not in HD, damn it.
That's right. I'm not sure what Fox is putting on the air this
week, but it's definitely not a high-def picture. I have two TV
providers (DIRECTV and Comcast) and three televisions, including
a state-of-the-art $22,000 Home Theater system, and I can assure
you that the picture is not HD.
The Fox picture has been a muddy mess, lacking the detail and
clarity that you usually expect from a high-def broadcast. The
network's centerfield camera is the worst culprit, often
displaying a picture that looks like it has been filtered with a
Brillo pad. It's just terrible; in fact, some
standard-definition broadcasts offer more precision and detail.
In contrast, the TBS broadcast of the AL Championship Series
between the Yankees and Rangers has been crystal-clear HD with
vivid, eye-popping color. Going from TBS to Fox this week has
been like going from day to night.
Now before you say I'm seeing things. Fox has actually said
during each broadcast that the games are being presented in a
"widescreen" format. (The network even referred baseball viewers
to foxsports.com/widescreen for more information.)
What is a "widescreen" format? Once upon a time when Fox did not
broadcast NFL games in high-def, it upconverted the SD picture
so it would fit the entire widescreen of a high-def set. The
picture would be slightly improved, but it would fall far short
of an HD image. Fox called the picture "digital widescreen."
I suspect that for some reason -- perhaps costs, perhaps a lack
of available HD cameras during the NFL season -- that Fox is
trying to slip a "digital widescreen" picture past its viewers
But the scary thing is that Fox has the exclusive rights to
carry next week's World Series.
Let's hope that the network brings their high-def cameras then.
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