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ESPN-HD in studio HD highlights and more (Questions).

557 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  NetworkTV
I've been seeing a LOT of sports networks going HD and a lot of HD cameras on the fields in many different types of sports. What I'm wondering is: When ESPN-HD goes live with their new production studios, are they going to have a good amount of HD highlights? Say for example a Red Sox game from NESN, or a Maple Leafs game from TSN or an Ottawa game from RSN-HD. Will ESPN-HD be obtaining these HD games for highlights to air in HD Sportcenter?

Also, will the scoreboard bugs really be moved? I don't understand why ABC/MNF doesn't do it, and I'm hoping to hear about how this will change in the future.

A completely odd question, will ESPN-HD brand itself in their graphic rollover screens that you see between a stat screen for a specific stat on a player or whatever by setting the graphics to say "ESPN-HD" instead?

A lot has been talked about with "Framing" for HD lately, especially for Football, will ESPN-HD start using different cameras to frame the picture more properly for the sport?

I understand a lot of people will want to speculate on this, I welcome that, I just hope to hear some true facts in the mix here. Fire away!
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Right now, I believe that they are pretty much keeping the ball in the middle of the screen so that action will not be cut out as much on NTSC sets. Of course, this means that we are locked into having the ball in the middle of the screen when you could instead have it off to the side and a bigger amount of screen showing the defensive set-up, where the players are more spread out.

Until they abandon the need to keep the action centered for 4:3 sets, we will have to deal with all the compromises made to keep both customers happy. I just wonder when we will get things made for 16x9 and the 4:3 set customers will just have to watch football with letterbox bars.
I know we were quite surprised to sign up for the DTV HD package tonight and see the 4:3 Phillies/Braves game upconverted/stretched into 16:9. Lots of short and stout players running around. :) Is this this typical fare for ESPN-HD events? I was led to believe that the channel would only have content when a "real" HD feed was available. Thanks much for any info.
This is the only programming that is in HD on ESPN right now:


Everything else that you see is upconverted and stretched.
Originally posted by AnthonyB
I understand a lot of people will want to speculate on this, I welcome that, I just hope to hear some true facts in the mix here.
'True facts'? Don't hold your breath. There are no 'true facts', except what has been already discussed here.

One more time.....

- 4:3 framing will be the norm for most national network HD broadcasts for the indefinite future. Don't expect to see this change until the majority of viewers are watching HDTV. Meaning years from now. The obvious exception to this is HDNet, and of course there may be a few others that emerge.

- Graphics fall into the same category as above.

- The production companies that ABC & ESPN have chosen to work with are using production equipment and techniques that allow them to charge a set rate for their services. Enabling different placement of the graphics would inevitability cost more. Existing costs have been used for establishing production cost budgets well into the future, perhaps more than a year. As new projected budget cycles are developed, it might be possible to average new costs into a longer period of time, or it might be decided to do more broadcasts with existing production standards at a lower cost. On the other hand, it's always possible ABC & ESPN are looking at what CBS is doing and decides to make a change sooner; I think this is a more remote possibility than expecting to see a change at a more natural time, like when a new season of sports begins sometime next year.

- It remains to be seen how much of the SC highlights are accessible to ESPN for HD broadcast. One would hope they are making arrangements to begin moving in this direction, but again I expect it will take time (years) for HD highlights to be the norm for ESPN HD.
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Most highlights are going to be SD until more HD content is available. ESPN can't provide HD highlights of an SD event. Seeing as Fox has a large number of sporting events, HD highlights from them will be unavailable for some time, and that's a lot of highlights. Even other networks will only be showing part of their sporting events in HD for at least another year or so due to a lack of HD resources.
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