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Monday, May 19, 2008

All Predators games in HD "soon"

Good news Preds fans - more HD is on the way!

I had the "HD will do more for hockey than any other sport" discussion again last week. Between the ability to see the puck (sans glowing) and the ability to see more of the play developing on the ice (much of hockey actually happens away from the puck), the benefits of getting as much hockey in HD as possible are evident.

Last year, we Preds fans groused about not having more games in HD repeatedly. Center Ice didn't show the games in HD (even if they were available) and Fox Sports Net: South, which carried most games locally) only provided a relative few games in HD. The worst came in the playoffs, where Preds fans only got one game (on NBC) out of 6 in HD. Out of 94 Predators games played in the 07-08 season, only 23 were available in HD in Nashville (1 NBC, 1 Versus, 21 FSN-S).

We were told that most of the games weren't available in HD because there was 1) a limited number HD production trucks at FSN's disposal and 2) a limited amount of bandwidth and signal processing ability to simply handle that many HD feeds.

So, back to the "good news": FSN just announced that they will soon be opening a new signal processing facility in Houston that will allow them to "handle up to 40 live [HD] games per day". More importantly, they promise that "in 2009", they will be 100%, 24/7 High Definition.

Of course, that could take until December of 2009...or they could miss their target entirely. But the fact that they are making a concerted effort to get as much HD out there as possible is a good sign. And 24/7 means that even if the NHL is the last thing they support, it will be here eventually!

Side Note: If they can get all Preds games in HD sooner rather than later, and the NFL does indeed go into a lockout*, this could be a very good year for hockey in Nashville indeed.

*I like the Titans just fine, and wouldn't wish a lockout on other fans for anything. But from a strictly business point of view, you know having the NFL go into even a short lockout would be a boon to the Predators business. UPDATE: If the NFL does go into lockout, it won't be until the 2011 season.


PhragMunkee said...

What was #2 again?

If it makes you feel any better, the only games we got in HD in Chattanooga were the nationally-broadcasted ones. FSN is still analog (not digital) in Chattanooga. It may be broadcasted digitally from Comcast, but it still looks like analog crap. Digital non-HD still looks slightly better than analog. But, man, did those national games look GOOD! I wonder if Versus has any plans to go HD any time soon?

Paul Nicholson said...

Most of Versus' games are in HD now, just a matter of if your cable provider has the HD feed, same as them not carrying FSN-S/HD for you. And of course the Preds are rarely on Versus. :-(