Ahh, HDTV. Probably the greatest invention of the 21st century so far. You’ve spent thousands on your HD setup. An HDTV, paying your cable company or satellite provider ripoff prices to get the programming, buying expensive wiring to get the best picture, and now you’re ready to watch. Everything looks amazing in HD. TV Shows, the nightly news, Ping Pong tournaments on ESPN, Crickets mating, etc. But NFL Football–probably the single sporting event that benefits most from HDTV? NO!
Well, at least if you are trying to watch the Browns on CBS. Courtesy the indespensible NFL Distribution Maps it is apparent that for the second week in a row the Browns will play in the only NFL game not in HD (again, thanks to CBS). The kicker? The Browns-Ravens game next week will also not be in HD! That means for 3 straight weeks watching the Browns on your giant HDTV that you paid good money for, and probably pay over $1oo to your cable company each month will not get you the nation’s most popular sport in HD.
The irony here is that the very same day you can tune in to the Cleveland Indians at 1pm and watch them play a random sunday afternoon game (1 of 162) in HD! That’s right, some 2 year-old tiny cable network who’s only real programming is Indians games somehow has gotten their hands on the advanced technology to make it possible to see every Indians home game in HD, but the mega-giant that is CBS can’t afford to put all of their games in HD. (I’m sure there are some animals mating in HD on Discovery Channel as well, but I didn’t have access to a TV guide prior to writing this)
This is the third year that Fox will broadcast all of their games in HD. Espn/ABC broadcast all of theirs in the preferred format as well. But somehow CBS, one of the “Big Three” networks can’t manage to roll-out more than 5 or 6 games in HD per week. Not only do they not put all of their games in HD, but they still haven’t figured out what it takes to make a broadcast look good either. When you do get a Browns game in HD on CBS, you’ll notice that the images aren’t nearly as detailed as those on Fox or ESPN/ABC. Even NBC, which barely has sports at all these days, still puts out a great looking HD picture ( you can almost see the grimmace on TD Jesus as he overlooks those putrid ND games).
What amazes me most is that the NFL, which is pretty much dominating the world theses days, allows CBS to present their product with such a low production value. Almost every aspect of the game presentation on CBS (Broadcast quality, announcers, graphics, number of cameras, pre/post game shows, etc) pales in comparision to that of the other networks that broadcast NFL games–and it’s not even close.
The good news? CBS does plan on presenting all of their games in “stunning” HD by next year. CBS should really just call their HD product “motion sickness” instead. But congrats on stepping into the 21 Century CBS–you’re only about 5 years behind.