Saturday, February 10, 2007

Duke/UNC not in HiDef, but tourney will be

Not sure how many people have Hi Definition TVs, but I'm addicted to mine. Getting spoiled by NFL and ESPN games in HD, I generally get irritated by watching most NC State games on Raycom because they aren't hi def. I was doubly irritated for the Duke/UNC game this week. Even though I had the DVR set to record on WRALs HD feed, of course the Raycom ACC network feed wasn't hi def. What makes it worse is the rest of the country was watching the game in HD because ESPN covered it, but it was blacked out in acc territories. But, looks like Raycom is slowly investing in the future.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Raycom/Lincoln Financial will announce next week that ACC basketball is going high definition.

For the first time, the men's ACC basketball tournament -- which begins March 8 in Tampa -- will be broadcast in HD on the syndicated network.

Technical problems have kept the network from switching to high def before now.

Ken Haines, Raycom's president, said Friday that affiliates aren't set up to receive syndicated programming in HD. They get their network programs in HD, but aren't set up to receive feeds from other sources.

Raycom's move will make it one of the first college basketball networks in the nation to offer HD events.

Of the 35 stations that get ACC basketball from Raycom/Lincoln Financial, about a third will be equipped to receive the HD feed by tournament time. That includes WBTV (Channel 3) in Charlotte as well as other major markets, including Greensboro and Raleigh.

"We're looking at adding some regular-season games next year," said Haines. "I don't know how far away we are from doing all the games in HD."

Costs are part of the problem. While it is more expensive to do HD games -- cameras, a high-def studio truck and other equipment must be added -- there is no increase in ad revenues.

"It costs a lot more to produce in HD than standard definition. We haven't found anyone willing to pay more to be broadcast in HD," Haines said.

-- Mark Washburn: