Yes, if you're speaking about smeary picture during sporting events, that's just KVUE and the idiotic way it's set up, converting ABC's nice 720p signal to 1080i. But if you're getting a signal dropout, that's another thing entirely.
ABC owns ESPN, and ABC airs a lot of ESPN sports programming. So when you see an ESPN show on ABC, it will be in 1080i, which is the native broadcast resolution of ESPN. It was like that for the World Cup, for example.
I watch a lot of ESPN sports, and have never had a complaint about their picture quality. Same goes for when ABC airs ESPN content. I'm not sure what you mean by "the idiotic way it is set up".
Well, the last time I looked, the ABC feed coming into KVUE was 720p, regardless of program content. The previous owners, Belo, had decided that all their stations would be 1080i, regardless of network. Hence, the "side" conversion with, an unfortunate introduction of artifacts.
The ESPN website confirms that it produces in 720p
It's a very old link, but still applicable IIRC. Frankly, I haven't watched a lot of sports on KVUE for a number of years due to the 720p/1080i issue in that any time you do a conversion like this, something is usually lost. I'm hoping this has changed since 720p first entered that building. But I haven't seen the documentation of it yet. If you have it, please point me in that direction.
No worries at all, sir! <grin> My issues with the 720p/1080i local conversion is that football tends to lose a lot during fast motion. Normal programming, I don't think anyone could ever tell the difference.
If you compare the NASCAR broadcasts on KTBC in their native 720p with football on KVUE, I personally think the difference is almost painful.