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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, one of my very favorite HD channels has turned to garbage overnight. The first of many disgusting changes no doubt coming along in the new year.


Universal HD is considered to be a premium HD channel by DIRECTV, Dish Network, and probably some cable providers. It is only available in the highest-tier HD packages for this reason. As of today, Universal has adopted the same practices as the most basic cable channels. Commercial interruptions are now frequent and lengthy (about every 10 minutes, rather than every 20-25 minutes), meaning that Universal no longer has any justification for charging cable/satellite providers a "premium" rate for reception and retransmission of this channel.


The worst change however is with the movies being aired on Universal HD. In the past, movies were often OAR, almost always uncut (except for fades before/after commercials), and always uncensored. The airing of Casanova (2005) this morning greeted we with the oh-so-familiar basic cable warning, which to my knowledge has never appeared on Universal before today:

Quote:
This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen, to run in the time allotted, and edited for content.

Casanova (2005) is 111 minutes long, but only ran for 106 minutes, and was placed in a 150-minute time slot (so 44 minutes of commercials, with at least one commercial break being 7 minutes long).


This is a very sad day for anyone who appreciated Universal HD's former bold position among cable channels. It had proven that a channel can operate as advertiser-supported, not advertiser-depedent, which I saw as a sign of respect to the viewers who are paying a large part of UHD's bills. Now we are expected to still pay that premium price while UHD bends to the will of self-righteous scumbag advertisers who have no morals when it comes to the peddling garbage to consumers, yet frown upon naughty material on pay-TV (e.g. the nudity that was cut from the airing of Casanova "for the sake of the children", or rather for the sake of the lazy parents that refuse to set limits on the digital cable/satellite box).


Now the censored, cut-to-death version of Mercury Rising is airing. I was looking forward to seeing this again, but not anymore.


R.I.P. Universal HD, and thank everything that is holy for HDNet Movies.
 

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Pardon me if this has been discussed elsewhere. Searching 'UHD' in the forum didn't yield any results.


Anyways, after years of a rotation of little-seen-programs and NBC Sports replays, UHD seems to be adding to their programming. A quick search of my guide looking for the Winter Classic rebroadcast shown these programs will be airing on UHD:


Becker

Psych

L&O: Criminal Intent

Monk

Starter Wife

WWE Monday Night Raw

ECW

Burn Notice

along with a lot more 'recent' Universal films.


So, basically, all the original programming from USA will be carried on UHD in reruns as well as Becker, which they seem to use at 4:00 in the morning on USAHD to 'get their timing right' for whatever marathon that day is showing.


Anyways, thought I'd give the heads up. For wrestling fans out there, I'm sure that rebroadcast on Saturdays will be nice. I was hoping we'd get more HOUSE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I made a post on this issue several hours ago but it hasn't appeared yet. Not sure if it will...


In short, all movies are being censored, edit and cropped, and the number of commercials has at least doubled. About 18 minutes of commercials per hour based on the airing of Casanova (2005) this morning, and one of the commercial breaks was at least 7 minutes long. Five minutes of that same movie were cut "to run in the time allotted." 111 minute movie cut to 106 minutes and run in a 150-minute time slot, censored at every possible moment, with 44 minutes of commercials.


So much for my favorite (and really the only) semi-premium channel.
 

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I wonder how this will effect the sports replays. I know this was a lifesaver after the US Open allowing me to capture the last two rounds of Tigers epic event completely unedited (sans the UHD burn).


With more programming now, I wonder if more stuff (NHL, Notre Dame, PGA) will be cut to fit into a 3 hour window.
 

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I really have to wonder why they'd make such a change. When they started having movies with commercial breaks I could understand for the most part, but this has me scratching my head. Hell, just a little over a week ago the channel showed Basic Instinct WITH the nudity, and now it's going to be bleeped-and-hacked up central.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardcore Legend /forum/post/15433484


Anyways, after years of a rotation of little-seen-programs and NBC Sports replays, UHD seems to be adding to their programming. A quick search of my guide looking for the Winter Classic rebroadcast shown these programs will be airing on UHD:

UniversalHD has been showing movies in HD for years. They expanded their roster of movies over time from the early days. Sure, UnivHD (preferred abbreviation for the channel as UHD is too ambiguous) has aired in constant repeat cycles short lived NBC TV series, but they also showed seasons 1 to 3 of Northern Exposure in HD in 2007. I would hardly describe UnivHD as only little seen programming or NBC Sports replays.


If they are switching to being a repeat channel for USA-HD, that is too bad as USA-HD is widely carried these days. I rather see UnivHD have somewhat older series in HD that were not widely seen in HD when they aired or older TV shows that have been remastered in HD rather than shows that are already shown on USA-HD. How about seasons 4-6 of Northern Exposure?
 

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Thanks for the un-needed history lesson.


Jericho, Philly, Kidnapped, Friday Night Lights, Sex-Love-Secrets, South Beach and Touching Evil were all low rated or short lived programs that comprise 7 of the 9 featured series on UHDs website. Couple that with Big Apple, Surface and Threshold seems not to far off base of a claim I made.


While they've shown HD movies for years and have featured programs like Battlestar, Six Feet Under and Northern Exposure, UHD (as the channel guide) has focused on what they readily could get in HD. Oddly enough, programming like NBC's Ed was never picked up...a show that seemed perfect for the type of programming they were showing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They're doing it because they don't know how to balance income and spending intellgiently, which is the case with a disturbing number of channels (and businesses in general). Previously, their programming was based on what they could get with a higher-than-normal carriage fee (or whatever its called) through cable and satellite providers, plus a small but necessary amount advertising. They made deals with sensible advertisers that didn't place unreasonable conditions on running their ads, meaning that uncensored movies and TV shows were OK.


Now they decided "we want more money for nothing" and, just like every other greedy media outlet, they do so by sacrificing the integrity of the product they provide. There are many more advertisers than the ones UHD previously had that will shell out cash as long as one insane condition is met: nothing "naughty" can be aired on your channel, or at the very least nothing "naughty" can be aired with the "support" of that advertiser's ads.


Advertisers today act like it is still 10 years ago and that the only "parental controls" available are parents physically turning off the TV or changing the channel. While this is still true for analog cable, they fail to realize that Universal and a number of other channels are only available in a digital form, and that digital cable and satellite receivers have very nice parental control features built into them.


Considering that most of the programming and advertising on UHD are clearly targeted at adults, there really is no excuse for the censoring/cropping/editing of movies that they are now doing. The advertisers need to learn that UHD is not responsible if Lil' Billy's parents are negligent and either don't setup parental controls, or allow unrestricted viewing of all channels they are subscribed to and then try to lay the blame on someone else if they're offended by something after the fact. UHD needs to confront their advertisers to resolve this issue, and we need to confront UHD in order to initiate that process. I don't mind the extra ads so much if it really does mean more diverse programming, but this isn't diversity, this is a substantial drop in programming quality posing as diversity.
 

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Dump the inaccurate ratings system altogether, and give us 'a la carte. We can then handle content "problems" with our family's dollars. It would then be interesting to see which channels make it and which don't.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustycruiser /forum/post/15434019


Seems very redundant. Do we really need USA-HD 2?

Well, channels like UHD, MHD, INHD/MOJO were designed for not much more than to get on the HD board. Now that discrete HD channels are available, their purpose is questionable, borne out by the fact they are going extinct.
 

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UniversalHD was great when it was the only thing coming from that network in HD. They had uncensored, uncut movies plus a mix of HD commercial TV programs.


When they suddenly decided to go commercial, that was when I stopped watching, as I was sure the next shoe would eventually drop and they'd start censoring/editing as well.


Once USA, Bravo, SciFi, and the others in that family launched in HD I had firmly hoped UniversalHD would convert to an all-movie premium-type channel showcasing classic Universal movies in HD. They should have a solid and large library from which to draw.


Unfortunately, there is little need for them anymore if they are to fully become USA2, as it sounds. Anything I would watch there in repeat, I'm watching new on Scifi or USA.. older syndicated stuff is available other ways typically... and movies are available everywhere.


It's a shame to see UniversalHD going with a whimper this way.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/15434644


Well, channels like UHD, MHD, INHD/MOJO were designed for not much more than to get on the HD board. Now that discrete HD channels are available, their purpose is questionable, borne out by the fact they are going extinct.

add HDNet and HDNet movies to that list
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H /forum/post/15434644


Well, channels like UHD, MHD, INHD/MOJO were designed for not much more than to get on the HD board. Now that discrete HD channels are available, their purpose is questionable, borne out by the fact they are going extinct.

Yes, but unlike MHD and INHD, Universal HD has a natural and useful niche that it can fill: Universal's near-premium movie channel. So it seems like Universal is running this network backwards over time: It started out right--as a premium-style movie channel--and has with each passing year turned into USA HD 2.


Not surprisingly, my viewing of Universal HD has declined substantially over time. Of course, I'm sure Uni execs would claim that's because I've gotten more HD channels to fill my time. But in reality it's because they've taken a good product and turned it into a useless one. They should be using MGM HD as a model, not USA HD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustycruiser /forum/post/15434019


Seems very redundant. Do we really need USA-HD 2?

Yes we do. For those of us unfortunate enough to be stuck with TWC, we don't get the luxury of USA HD. After reading this, I actually subscribed to UHD since there is finally something worth watching on this channel. It'll be nice to see more WWE in HD along with Monk, Psych and Becker. I'm glad to see them finally diversify the lineup, rather than showing the same things. Take today, the same two movies almost on a loop and back to back. Start showing programs from the various NBC Universal cable outlets. Maybe that will cause the customers to turn up the heat on the cable providers so they finally start carrying these damn channels(USA HD, SCIFI HD, etc).
 

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My TWC actually even has UniversalHD in the clear with just analog cable if you have a QAM capable TV -- it's the only cable HD channel (other than the local channels which not encrypted) I can get with the level of Cable.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by prospect60 /forum/post/15435114


My TWC actually even has UniversalHD in the clear with just analog cable if you have a QAM capable TV -- it's the only cable HD channel (other than the local channels which not encrypted) I can get with the level of Cable.

I wish we had something like that here, except have it included with channels like TNT, ESPN, etc. It sucks having to buy the B.S. tier with HD Net/2 and MGM HD.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMe2 /forum/post/15434885


UniversalHD was great when it was the only thing coming from that network in HD. They had uncensored, uncut movies plus a mix of HD commercial TV programs.

lol..... roughly 100 HD Movies in the library a year and most in rotation you would not care about - usually just 1 movie a week on Saturday Night (that repeated only twice a year).


Not exactly what I would call great unless you liked such "classics" in heavy rotation such as Beethoven's 2nd, 3rd, 4th (but no original), Bring It On Again, Heartbeeps, Jetsons, Legend of Billie Jean, Playing for Keeps, Ruby, Smokey and the Bandit (1 & 2) Threesome, Wind and Zoot Suit.
 
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