The HD Revolution Will Be Televised … Slowly

Viewers in the United States this week were probably disappointed to learn that the Olympics would be broadcast in high definition (HD) but only on a limited basis and with a 24-hour delay behind the traditional broadcasts. NBC promises hundreds of hours of HD coverage, but because of limited equipment availability and the inability to make much in advertising dollars on the HD broadcasts, the network's coverage is disappointing compared to the thousand-plus hours on its other stations. The first Olympics that featured HD coverage was in 1988, but little progress has been made since. NBC has said that the Winter Olympics in 2006 will be available entirely in HD, which we certainly look forward to, even though most Olympic events, frankly, are unwatchable as it is. The HD rollout isn't going slow in other places though. ABC/ESPN, CBS, and Fox have invested a considerable amount of money and resources this year to offer as many as 10 NFL football games in HD each week. Last year, there were only two games in HD—one on CBS and one on ABC's Monday Night Football. It's nice to see progress, however slow

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