Lots of HDTV Channels, but No HD ?

There is nothing wrong with the new HDTV that you just spent a fortune on.

It’s not yours’ or the TV’s fault that the picture quality you are seeing on your brand spanking new TV looks like crap compared to what you saw in the store.

It’s not your fault that you signed up for and paid extra for the HD package from your video provider, got all excited about your favorite network and shows finally being in HD and then looking worse than it did on your old TV. Its not your fault because what far too many TV networks are trying to pass off as HD isnt really HD. Its not even close.

TV Networks are misleading consumers into thinking they are getting HD versions of their networks. Which leads to a simple question. What makes a TV Network HD ?

If a network calls itself an HD Network, does that make it an HD Network ? Or should the network be required to actually have content that is of high definition resolution ?
And if they have HD Resolution content, how much should they actually have before they can call themselves HD ?

In the coming months cable, telco and satellite providers are gearing for a marketing battle over who has the most HD channels. Ads will be everywhere touting big name networks finally bringing HD versions to the masses.

Unfortunately for consumers, the schedules of many, if not most of those new channels will have less than 10pct of their content actually produced using HD cameras and shown at HD resolution. Few will have more than 3 hours a day of HD resolution content.

I think a lot of consumers are going to be very, very disappointed.

When you turn the channel to an HD network that you are paying for, shouldn’t you have the right to expect to see content in full HD Resolution ? Of course. Unfortunately you won’t. For many “HD” networks, you may go DAYS without seeing any real HD content.

That’s not right.

80 thoughts on “Lots of HDTV Channels, but No HD ?

  1. Okay, I bought two converter boxes thanks to the government.
    The signal is often pixelated, freezes, and is in general NOT the
    “wave of the future”. It can’t be by virtue of the digital signal.
    It’s not a true sine wave, but a modified square wave.
    Further, DTV sucks for reasons I mentioned above. It doesn’t matter
    how good your antenna is. I NEVER had this problem with good old
    analog TV.
    This is all just a power and money grab by the broadcasting giants
    who have their fingers in the wireless broadband pie.
    And there is no freaking way I’m paying for cable or satellite TV.
    Why should I pay for commercials when about one third of programming
    is commercials? If they want me to subscribe, take one third off
    of the price. Commercials are supposed to be free.
    Enough said, and I really hate it when the government takes us for
    fools.

    Comment by Zardoz -

  2. great article, ive been looking into buying an HD flat screen for
    my living room and the more info i get the better.

    Comment by vinny28 -

  3. Are there any channels in 1080p (versus 1080i)? HDNet is 1080i. I have Brighthouse with the HD package. MOJO and DiscoveryHD look the best on my TV (Sharp Aquos 42\” LCD). HDNet is a close second. ESPN HD looks terrible most of the time…

    Comment by msn nickleri -

  4. You are ab arrogant and destructive son of a b—- and I\’ll never go see you atrocious movie or spend one dime anywhere you might profit from it.

    Comment by K -

  5. Mark,

    I just finished sending you a comment on this blog, and I turned on the TV and there it was, again! On Glen Beck show, they were talking about how anti-war movies always loosing money and 4 out of 26 had ever made any money, and so on….. what a bunch of ignorant media news casters whom are living in LALA land. They only listen and do what do are told and never ever question their authority! How can we ever have any rights when we got ignorance for media!

    Comment by Mitchell -

  6. Mark,

    If I ever was offered 72 virgins, I would trade 71 of them for a whore and an Xbox and/or couple of DVD\’s of your films! and I would keep one the virgins just in case things don\’t work out between me and the whore! LOL!

    Comment by Mitchell -

  7. there is plenty of changes to 1080, I have seen it around.

    Comment by fel3232 -

  8. As of 15 August 2007, I will have spent five years enjoying \”Over-the-Air\”(ota) HDTV program via my local ABC,CBS,FOX & NBC networks during primetime and special sporting events using various \”ATSC\” tuners. In addition, I appreciate and glsdy pay to get Mark\’s HDTV channels(HDnet & HDmovies) and in doing so….I WANT TO THANK YOU MARK FOR PROVIDING \”ZENITH\’ HDTV RESOSLUTION TEST CALIBARATION\” EACH SATURADAY AT 06:50hrs.
    As of 15 August 2007, I AM PAYING TWO-DOLLARS ($2.) PER HD CHANNEL (ESPN-HD,HDmv,HDnet,HDtheater, & TNT-HD) in order to continue receiving the original ATSC STANDARDS OF MPEG-2 transmissions of 1080i programming. MPEG-4 looks great on a computer screen, and fools the untrained eyes on the 42\’ HDTVs are smaller! Example, watch a FOX-HD Stock Car Race on Sunday using MPEG-4 and the 720P format in order to get the \”micro-blocking\” flags during passing shots!

    Comment by chuckHENRY -

  9. I\’ve been ranting for years that HDTV is format without content. It\’s disapointing how few broadcasters have really invested in delivering true HD. I suspect that many will need a financial carrot/stick to justify diving in completely.

    http://businessopinions.blogspot.com/2007/10/apparently-not-everyone-is-on-same-hdtv.html

    Comment by Lee D -

  10. I\’m a little late commenting on this issue and I normally would just move onto something more current but I just have to add my two cents worth.

    If people actually thought they were getting true HD broadcast, then those people who have paid for it deserve to be taken to the cleaners. It\’s been widely known for over 2 years that networks aren\’t really broadcasting true HD shows even if they advertise that they\’re an HD network.

    I bought a 56\” Samsung DLP 1080p TV. My satelite feed is good enough because the TV itself is that good. Why spend $300 on a receiver then an extra $10 per month just to watch the news in HD??? Sorry Mark, but HDNET has absolutely nothing that I\’m interested in.

    So for those who are smart enough to wait, buy a Samsung DLP and you\’ll be happy. I have a friend who has an HD package and my TV without HD blows his out of the water.

    Comment by Hawk -

  11. Mark, good job. We appreciate your responses and felt that thru this, we have made a good friend. Look forward to following you in your new endeavors. We will continue to read your blogs.

    Your character showed in your responses to the judges remarks. Well done!!

    Comment by Eloise & John Leggiero -

  12. Its true, network don\’t provide the HD quality to their customers because the quality is depending on the camera. Your TV has pixels which tell you how good of a quality the product delivers. There is also a contrast ratio to keep in mind which plays a big roll in quality. So, if you have a crappy station with cheap cameras you will get crappy quality even on the top notch HDTV, if you have a HUGE TV that says you its HDTV and the pixels are too big and contrast ratio is way off then you get that same crappy quality. I can get a better quality on my 17\” monitor because it 2000:1 contrast and I can\’t remember the number of pixels + 4 seconds response time while playing a DVDrip.

    Comment by Fofa -

  13. I just got a LG 37\” HD TV, and we don\’t have any cables and stuff. But the quality is fantastic. Especially when watching NBC, my 20, and CW. When it shows blue sky and grass, it looks so great. Yea I would love to see ALL shows in HD.

    Comment by Online Pet Store -

  14. Who needs a TV when you can just read a book?

    ME! Why read when you can sit back and just watch it on T.V. lol

    Comment by Richard -

  15. Does anyone have any idea how many channels broadcast in HD? Not through 1 provider but all channels available in HD. Do you think its more than 200?

    Comment by jacob -

  16. When I first purchased our T.V., I just thought I had bought a defected T.V. lol

    Comment by Dallas Realty -

  17. I guess i will continue to be a cave dweller for now. I had digital cable with all those juicy HD channels and was just not convinced as yet to upgrade. Ill give it some time before i jump on in.

    Comment by James Dalton -

  18. I\’ve been wavering on a purchase for the past 2 years. My research has been meticulous and time consuming to compare LCD, DLP, SXRD, and Plasma in all sizes. Now after reading this blog I\’m starting to feel that it won\’t matter which platform I choose, the content is crap and the broadcast industry is pulling a major bait and switch job because the public doesn\’t know any better. Sort of like in our parents generation when they would hear something on the news and say \”boy, it\’s on TV so it must be true – they couldn\’t broadcast a lie\”. That being said, I think it\’s clear that we\’re being lied to with regard to content and quality of signal. The bottom line here is that the technology DOES exist to produce quality HD content just like HDNet, but the media bean counters are waiting until the last possible date before the FCC mandate kicks in to save their budgets. I too will probably wait until 2010 or later to take the plunge.

    Comment by JMK -

  19. Shot in HD vs. merely upconverted. HUGE difference. DISH is the only provider I know that has more produced HD content than others with the VOOM! Network.

    Comment by JR -

  20. You\’re absolutely right, Mark. The offerings (channel and content-wise) suck right now. We only have the major networks, your two channels, HBO, Showtime, and Discovery HD through Charter Cable. Most of the day\’s programming on the networks aren\’t in HD. Plus, I hate when sporting events aren\’t in HD. Why do the networks not film all the sporting events in HD???

    Comment by Daddy Dan -

  21. This couldn\’t be a bigger issue anywhere other than the NFL. I root for the lowly Cleveland Browns and three out of the first four games have been in standard resolution and not in HD. The NFL and CBS should be ashamed of themselves for not having 100% HD coverage of all NFL contests. It is a travesty that in this day and age in the nation\’s top sport that each and every game isn\’t available in all its HD glory. Of all the shows that I watch, the ones where HD is appreciated most are sporting events.

    Comment by FilteringCraig -

  22. Mark, I am a huge fan og Dancing With The Stars. I am also a huge Mavs fan,so watching you dance was funtastic.(my version of fantastic)
    You were surprisingly good. I could tell you were nervous, but every body was. Keep up the good work, and make Dallas proud. Really, I think anyone who does that show, with no dance experience should be commended.

    Comment by Janice Robinson -

  23. HD will probably only get better over time. I know HD will probably win the was over blue ray because the porn industry prefers HD

    Comment by Grabs -

  24. Mark… interesting I came across your blog on the very same day I just purchased my first HDTV (Sony KDF-42E2000)! The problem, as I see it, is not resolution (resolution is just fine with current over-the-air networks), but RECEPTION. I was literally BLOWN AWAY at the resolution while watching \’FOX\’, and yourself in \’Dancing With The Stars\’ this evening! However, even with a decent outdoor antenna, at times I wasn\’t getting an ample signal, and the picture would freeze, pixxelate, or completely drop out! All this in a major-market too (Cleveland). I am only about 10 miles from downtown Cleveland, and HD reception with a good HDTV and good directional outdoor antenna should be flawless. I truly believe that the FCC needs to allow the networks to transmit with more power (watts output power), and have higher and/or more effective antenna systems with higher omnidirectional gain. So again, it\’s RECEPTION, RECEPTION, RECEPTION that is the MOST important aspect to receiving satisfying off-the-air HDTV, since many of us don\’t have HD cable! Please do whatever you can to lobby the FCC to allow broadcasters to use more power and better antennas! Thanks for listening. P.S. your dance moves tonight were KILLER!!!!

    Comment by George Greek -

  25. I agree Mark! Sometimes I find it hard to watch television even after I spent thousands of dollars. I have all the latest and best of everything, and even if I prefer one news channel over another, I find myself watching WFAA channel 8, just to get the best HD picture that I paid for…isn\’t that sad??

    Comment by Cody McJunkins -

  26. Who owns the tradmark for HD? If someone does then who actually, and if no one then why not HDNet Films or HDTV. If you do own the trademark for HD then why do the networks determine the quantity and quality of HD Resolution?

    Comment by Heather -

  27. HD is a very viable and increasingly popular format, and countless new customers are thrilled by it each and every day. The price of an HDTV (with built in over-the-air tuner) has plummeted, and is now within reach of many that couldn\’t afford one before. HD tuners are now required for all HDTV\’s sold. But, as you say, there should be much more HD content (consistency and quality too), whether over cable, satellite, or over-the-air broadcasting. We must also keep in mind that the typical household has SEVERAL SD (standard defenition)televisions interspersed throughout the home (kitchen, laundry room, attic space, workshop, etc.) in addition to their main sets in the family room or bedroom. And most of those TV\’s are not hooked up to cable or satellite. All those adjunct SD TV\’s will essentially become obsolete as broadcasters make the mandatory move to all digital in 2009. People will be forced to buy a converter box OR a new HDTV. And given the fact that many broadcast digital HD signals will drop out or not be strong enough to be received on many of these \’standalone\’ TV\’s not hooked up to cable or satellite, these over-the-air broacasters must do something to increase their signal strengths so HDTV users can tune them in better. With analog sets, even if reception is \’iffy\’, you can still see somewhat of a picture. With digital, you get \’drop outs\’ and \’artifacts\’, or NO picture at all on an HDTV!!! So it is important broadcasters can actually DELIVER HD content in a more efficient manner, with stronger signals, as compared to analog TV. One has to realize that these additional, extra TV sets people have in their homes (as described above), greatly drive ratings and thus ad revenues!!!!

    Comment by Alex Lifeson -

  28. Mark,
    What have you heard about laser TV?? I have not bought into HD because I have not seen a real advantage to it as of yet. Why spend the extra 4 to 500 bucks when ED is just as good for whats out there today. I have a 42\” plasma ed and a 32\” LCD HD and they both give me a great picture. I notice minute differences on DVD but not much. But until there is more real HD content why but and expensive set and if what I hear about laser is true then the current HD models that are out now will be out of date in the matter of a year or so.

    Comment by Ken Dobbe -

  29. Mark,

    You are right. Its completely aggravating. I own a blu-ray and HD-DVD player and 3 HD TV\’s and on any given day I can watch maybe 2 things I like in HD and forget about blockbuster because they\’ve got just a few titles for me to rent in either format. Though the issue at hand is one much larger then just what is on TV. You have to consider that HD is a poor format that might be missed in its execution. What I mean is how many people are going to buy Blu-Ray or HD-DVD players? How many titles are available even if you own one. Why are we still using DVD Roms anyway?

    All of these things have been adopted to support a format that nothing previously supported. You have to adapt every piece of hardware and software from filming, broadcasting, post production, to playback.

    So whats the point here? I believe there is a good chance 4K will be adopted by more consumers then HD has a chance to. Lets face it, we have the compression, we have the technology and just think about how much content is already out there in 4k that can easily be converted. Post production software that already deals with 4k, cameras that film in 4k.

    I\’ve read your other posts about your home networking and im sure you\’ve got the most badass home theater money can buy, but we are working on a piece of hardware that (we hope) will replace a bunch of devices, get rid of old formats, and ultimately tie all these things together. Sure we are starting with HD, but looking at the big picture HD is already dead in my book and everything we do aims at 4k and just supports HD because of all the hardware we\’ve all already bought :)

    Just think.. watch any HD movie you want anytime you want, and store an entire library on the same player instead of 2 bookshelves of roms. And the day your TV supports 4k (thanks sony) its ready to go. Sorry for the rant im passionate about this subject due to our work, but it just feels like everyone is wasting time trying to fix a broken idea instead of looking at how to utilize all the existing advances out there and create a new paradigm that ultimately is cheaper for everyone down the line!

    Bottom line.. HD is dead, we are just pushing the casket along until it falls apart.

    Comment by Will McCullough -

  30. That\’s why I like my TiVo Series 3 or my Media Center PC with the HDHomeRun tuner. We record only HD programming and therefore 90% of what we watch is HDTV. Love HDNet Movies by the way. I regularly surf the guide data and record flicks from it.

    Comment by Keith Combs -

  31. I have Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles. I would rather watch \”HD\” via webcam since it would probably be less pixelated. The compression OR decompression is piss poor. I\’m not sure if it is my cable box or if it is their output but it is just unacceptable. I have complained and they will do nothing. I am powerless to them, but I don\’t want to invest in satellite.

    Anybody down for a class action suit?

    Mark wanna lead it? JK

    Zach

    PS, Happy new year Mark. I forgive you for bailing on TC40!

    Comment by Zach -

  32. hd programming is essentially in its infancy stage still. but really, hd shows are much, much better than regular ones. i do not mind paying $10 extra each month because i\’m a sports fan and football, basketball, and women\’s beach volleyball are more exciting to watch in hd. discovery hd theater is very nice and of course, mark\’s hdnet and hdnet movies. if you have an hdtv set, i think it\’s worth your money to get hd programming immediately.

    Comment by john d. -

  33. Here in Kansas City these are the channels that irritate me the most:

    1) KCPT (public TV) – 5 digital channels, HD content exceedingly small and that content is mislabeled in guide data so I can’t use my S3 TiVo to choose between the HD version of something and non-HD. And everything I watch from them is letterboxed so somewhere is a damn HD version of the show. Where is HD Nova, History Detectives, Secrets of the Dead, etc….

    2) Discovery – Everything I watch on the regular Discovery channel is letterboxed, so presumably is availalbe in HD. But Discovery HD seems to be 8 showing of HD American Chopper and nothing else (although they did carry Planet Earth in HD which was awesome to watch) Where is HD Mythbusters?

    3) SciFi channel – this is just depressing that there is no HD scifi channel, this is a target audience that loves high def stuff and is early adopters. Kudos to HDTV for picking up Torchwood! Now if you would just start running Doctor Who! UHD has Stargate Atlantis (I’m tempted to skip the new season just to watch it in reruns in HD) perhaps HDTV can grab Eureka.

    Another issue that is coming is digital quality. I’m on cable and the local digital channels come in terrible 60% of the time. Other cable only HD channels drop out on a regular basis as well. Only HDNet remains rock-solid everytime I’ve recorded something from there.

    Comment by Yakko -

  34. These snake oil sales have been pitting our north american economy for decades now… What about our \”super high speed\” internet connections as well? Meanwhile the japanese are enjoying literally 100 times faster connections… hell why don\’t I just move there and download my episodes in HD.. would probably be faster than waiting years for these old-school tv jokers to whip into shape.

    Comment by HD LCD Owner -

  35. I have to disagree with you on this one Mark. I have the HD tv and pay the money for the HD channels from my provider (Comcast) and am blown away with the picture. The shows that I watch are almost all in HD or, if not, still come out as a very strong picture. I haven\’t been disappointed at all with this growth in technology.

    Comment by Bill Hampton -

  36. As long as the NFL is in HD…

    Comment by Stephen Brewer -

  37. I still can\’t figure out why I should even want HD in the first place

    Comment by poks.org -

  38. ghost ,blazing saddles @ dead again = = not a bad start

    what a brilliant idea- classic moveis 24 7 in high def- got my dvr running 24-7 now. btw congrats on the red swoosh sale- and good luck with your dancing( who owns the insurance policy) see u at the rbk

    im ready for u to revisit the gambling hedge fund idea- maybe after u buy the cubs

    Comment by steven -

  39. Give it time. By next year this time things will be different, trust me.

    Comment by Bob Forex -

  40. I\’ve just noticed the changes in Marketing; making the important distinction between Digital TV and HDTV.

    Since in Med February 2009 all Analog Stations will \’Switch Off\’ and only Digital TV will be available – the newer TV\’s are ramping up for the next \’Digital Revolution\’. Even Congress has authorized a $25 voucher (max of 2 per household) for qualified (really dirt poor) individuals to keep their Analog TV – the one that is so old it voted for Bush 1 – and acquire a Set Top Box (for $35 or more) that will permit them to watch Digital TV.

    So, the real question is \”Is it DTV or HDTV\”. And as so many have observed = \”Show Me the Meat!!\”

    Comment by Ronholog -

  41. Here in Canada stations are only required to provide 5% HD programming to call themselves \”HD\”. It\’s nice to have HDNET, when you know the programming will be HD as advertised.

    Comment by Paul Cyopick -

  42. We\’re being told by Directv that we must switch equipment to get the new programming…and I\’ve been paying $10 a month for the few HD programs I receive…and we bought that equipment just 2 years ago. We aren\’t allowed to get our local channels because they say we can view them over the air…in a deep canyon in Black Hills? hardly. So all we have is Directv…costing an ever increasing fortune. I\’m prepared to start reading for my entertainment and listening to radio for news…turning off my internet connections…everything. And while I\’ll miss the great Dan Rather programs(and I\’m hoping you\’re supporting his suit against CBS) I\’m just digusted with the greed of major media providers. I enjoy reading. It\’ll be nice for a change.

    Comment by Barry G. Wick -

  43. Thanks for this information. I was just about to buy a HDTV and I know nothing about it, except it is suppose to be the next best thing.

    Comment by Millie Rivers -

  44. My experience seems to be about the opposite of yours. I bought an awesome 34\” Sony widescreen tube HDTV a few years ago and picked up the HD DVR cable box from Time Warner. They have regularly expanded their HD lineup and while I\’d love to have more channels I\’d be crazy to complain. I get HBO, Showtime, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, ESPN1&2, NESN, TNT, Discovery and a few others and they\’re all incredible and besides HBO/Showtime there is no extra charge for these HD channels. I don\’t watch much daytime tv or the evening news so I probably miss alot of the programming that folks seem to be complaining about here. For movies, sports and prime time programming I couldn\’t possibly be happier with the HD service that I currently receive.

    Comment by dmcmaine -

  45. First, thanks for not making your blog an ad for HDNet. Second, you\’re right on the money that HD content is largely vaporware at this point. We\’re in that awkward transition phase like in the \’50s when networks/people were switching from B/W sets to color – wasn\’t that a 10-year process ?

    This is one of the MANY reasons I\’ve yet to purchase my first HDTV. I don\’t see making my first purchase until sometime between 2010 and 2012. By that time these things should be in place: (1) more than half of primetime programming should be in HD, (2) and that format should be standardized as 1080p displaying on sets that operate at 120hz, (3) better display tech like OLED/SED should be common, and (4) the HD-DVD vs BluRay war should either be over or at a draw, then I/we can confidently purchase a high-def Recorder.

    Until that time, I\’ll have to settle for watching the smattering of HD broadcast content on my HP Touchsmart\’s 19\” high-def LCD – it\’s a suitable bridge technology. :-)

    Comment by Eludium-Q36 -

  46. Hey Mark, It\’s nice to see \”Thats not right\” for a change. I never hear it at my job when there comes to making money and something may be a little off of spec. and very seldom any where in business when there is a shady area with the integrity of a product or an agreement. Your employees are lucky to have a guy that has that in his thought process of daily life.It\’s refreshing to know someone is still out there that runs thier business that way. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  47. What I think needs to happen is something like a CurrentTV for HDTV, with much lower barriers to entry. A good camera like the HV20 can produce a 1080i/60 or 1080p/24 picture for $1000 – throw in a couple hundred for mics and you actually have a pretty good setup there for indie features and shows.

    Now, with the Aiptek A-HD for $180, which captures at 720p/30, you\’re going to find that there are people pissed that these cameras can\’t be used for much more than down-converting to YouTube size. That\’s not right, in my opinion. They need an outlet, and a combination Web/HDTV setup, where people vote on the best videos and the videos are sent to on-air play…

    Basically, until the studios start pumping out good content in HD, citizen media will have to fill the gap.

    (Give me an e-mail if you\’d like, I\’ve got some ideas about this.)

    Comment by Brian Boyko -

  48. Wow…..I feel- ironically – ahead of the curve now for my decision to go with the 42\” ED for the time being. I figured I would wait until about 2010 before taking the plunge. In the meantime, DVD\’s with upscaling look amazing and I can actually stomach watching cable.

    Comment by Warren -

  49. Who needs a TV when you can just read a book?

    Comment by Steve -

  50. yeah – There needs to be a standard set –

    – What is High Def
    – How much Hd programming to regular to be called a \”HD\” channel

    -.rb

    Comment by Paintless dent repair tools -

  51. Nothing pisses me off more than a football game in SD on a HD channel!!! there is no excuse for that

    Comment by Dan -

  52. I agree with you completely, but let\’s also acknowledge that your own HDNet Movies isn\’t helping matters by using some truly dreadful video transfers of films. Newer titles tend to look good, but I was appalled just this morning by how horrible the transfer of \”Memphis Belle\” was.

    Comment by bored2tears -

  53. Personally, I\’m loving HD! Sports are the \”killer app\”, I\’ve quickly become spoiled and I don\’t want to watch football, golf, or basketball any other way. Hell, I\’m even tuning into the occasional Nascar race because it looks so damn good (and I HATE Nascar!) Plus I\’m digging Mojo and HDNET (thanks Cube) because they (you) program shows for guys! The rest of broadcast TV is just a giant tampon. Who cares if Desperate Housewives is in hi-def, it just ruins the illusion that those women are attractive. If you\’re buying an HDTV to watch network shows, you\’re wasting your money.

    I agree that the channel 5 HD local news here is a joke, the commercials for their HD broadcast AREN\’T EVEN IN HD! I mean you can get a consumer HD camcorder for $600 these days, why can\’t the producers put a crowbar in their wallets and toss their reporters a new camera or two to back up their big claims?

    Comment by Steve -

  54. Mark,

    Is Comcast ever going to carry your networks? Do they already and just not in my area?

    Bill

    Comment by Bill -

  55. I have had HDTV for 5 years and not much has changed. This is nothing new. Whenever we got more HD channels there was never much HD content on them. I recently switched to verizon FIOS to have HDNET over INHD but they are not that much different. Of course I love getting the Little 500 in HD but thats one place I would rather be. If Mark truely wants to outdo his competition and be a champion of HD,providing a true HD content solution he should create a service similar to what VOOM was. It would not be easy even with all his capital but if done correctly and marketed correctly it could take off. I could spell out how exactly to make this a successful reality but Mark knows he went to KSOB too. Go Hoosiers!!!!!

    Comment by Josh -

  56. In regards to 1080i etc I would almost always rather have 720p. Interlacing is bad mmmk?

    Comment by Doyle -

  57. Mark, Good article.
    However, it would be helpful if you could not only identify the problem, but also offer us some suggested resolution or course of action.

    Comment by John Taras -

  58. Please tell Dan Rather that I am behind him entirely with his lawsuit against CBS. Dan stands up for freedom in journalism just like you do.

    Dan Rather was wonderful at CBS News and I miss him.

    Comment by Octavine -

  59. \”Are there any channels in 1080p\”

    My understanding is that no broadcaster, satellite or cable is able to offer 1080p. The only way you\’ll see true 1080p is via Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. Even 1080i is pretty rare in my experience.

    I live in Los Angeles and have the DirectTV HD DVR system and love it. Admittedly it would depend a lot on what you watch, but for me seeing sports (mostly baseball, football, golf) in HD makes it all worth it.

    Though I didn\’t originally intend to, I ultimately subscribed to DirectTV HD package in order to get the addition HD content (Including HDNet and HDNet movies). Seeing movies in HD is really spectacular.

    Comment by l.a. guy -

  60. cable cards should go VIP (property of the channel, yeah). contests, more fluidly interactive. that would be sweet.

    Comment by saM FFL -

  61. What Mark is trying to say is \”Buy HDNET!\”

    And hell, I bought it, only because of Bas Rutten and inside MMA!

    Comment by Dirk -

  62. Mark you could deliver a TON more info on this topic here.

    Comment by Morgan Warstler -

  63. Are there any channels in 1080p (versus 1080i)? HDNet is 1080i. I have Brighthouse with the HD package. MOJO and DiscoveryHD look the best on my TV (Sharp Aquos 42\” LCD). HDNet is a close second. ESPN HD looks terrible most of the time…

    Comment by Jay -

  64. It\’s time for the FCC to step up and quit pushing back the deadlines, so that we can get rid of analog television, start getting more HD, and use that spectrum for something else. The only thing I can honestly say I watch in standard def is the Cubs\’ game on pay-per-view, and even that is hard sometimes.

    Comment by Scott -

  65. I still can\’t figure out why I should even want HD in the first place. What am I missing? I think I\’ve seen something that\’s supposedly HD, and I can\’t tell the difference. I\’m certainly not going to pay more for something I can\’t tell the difference for just because it\’s the latest buzzword.

    Comment by Jean -

  66. We have had HDTV for about 2 years, absolutely love it. Sports (baseball) much more enjoyable. The selection is limited to about 12 channels on Cox, hopefully more in the near future.
    Disadvantage – When you visit friends without HD it is difficult not to ask why they have not gone HD.

    Comment by russian girl -

  67. I would agree with the fact that it really sucks – and the people that can afford it are being forced to subsidize cable companies providing SD to everyone. However, with regards to the HD channels – it\’s my understanding that you can\’t show the true HD shows without the special channel…so I\’ll take what I can get vs nothing. If you build it they will come.
    Mark – when the AA Arena sells a luxury suite they sell all the tickets to all the events that are going on for the whole year no? So, I would have to buy tickets to all the crappy concerts I have no intention of seeing if I want the box.

    Comment by bromo98 -

  68. I think a greater challenge for the average consumer today is interlinks and two versions of the same channel.

    On the interlink front, we have RF, composite, s-video, component, HDMI, DVI, firewire, etc. That barely touches the same audio challenge.

    On the multiple channel front, Joe Customer has spent a nice chunk of their lives tuning into HBO on channel 20, 501 or whatever. And inertia is a son of a gun.

    So, in order for Joe to even get to the problem you describe, he as to:
    1) Have a HD display.
    2) Subscribe to HD services or use OTA, if available.
    3) Use HD interlinks, if required.
    4) Have their display set to the HDTV source (How many still have coax hooked up?).
    5) Ensure their source is set to output at 720p or 1080i.
    6) Tune to the appropriate HD channel.

    I don\’t know… but that seems like a lot of work for many. And while one would think that Comcast, DirecTV, or any other provider would ensure their customers are on-boarded to HD effectively, I\’ve found more than a few friends and family members claiming high definition when they\’re not even scoring stereo.

    Now I\’m not saying I have the smartest friends and family members… but I think there are more than a few groups that need to step up to make this a much much easier process for the masses. I know HDMI is supposed to solve much of this, but…..

    Separately, how much bandwidth is being wasted these days? How many people are watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on three channels at once? I mean, theres got to be a more efficient way to push content around………

    Comment by Nelson -

  69. CNBC announces they\’re going HD, but their video image will not be High Definition.

    They\’ll just push their 4:3 image to the upper left corner of the 16:9 field and fill the rest with data.

    But they\’ll call it HD!

    Comment by Bill G -

  70. Fox actually upscales most of their HD material. It is definitely not as good as some of the other channels. I also don\’t quite know why they have the black bars on the side for commercials when you can clearly see a line across the top that shows the image behind is actually stretched.

    Anyhow it is the content of channels that people really desire. I have lots of HD channels, most of the programming is crap. The MOJO stuff is ok but really I want the shows I like to watch in HD. Luckily most of the time I\’m watching prime time shows that already are in HD (Lost, Heroes, sporting events).

    Comment by Doyle -

  71. I\’ve been ranting about this for years. Here in Canada, Bell crows that they have more HD channels than StarChoice, but they count the East and West network feeds as 1 each, which inflates their numbers. In addition, there\’s a few specialty channels like RushHD and EquatorHD that you\’ll never watch more than once. The real number of what\’s actually watchable might be a quarter of what they claim.

    The worst offender for lacking content is TSN-HD, which might, on a good day have 2 hours of true HD (720p or over) content, while the rest of the day is regular TSN ported over. Blah.

    That said, I do love good HD content. Primarily educational and documentary programming. Thank you, PBS-HD!

    Comment by Lee D -

  72. I do think that there should be more content on the so-called HD Networks. However, I don\’t think that there is a problem with the picture quality of non-hd channels with these new televisions. On the the contrary, I \’ve found that the plasma and lcd televisions that I have in my family room and bedroom show a far superior picture than my old tube television ever gave. I think that your comment on that regard is very misleading.

    Comment by Ronald -

  73. Mark,

    Again you are correct – I bought my first 42\” plasma last year, all excited with the \”picture\” it had in the store and I couldn\’t wait to get it home and hung on the wall to watch the Mavs, NBA, NFL and Nascar. What I didn\’t know was that I was leaving my little 27\” good quality picture to go to a 42\” CRAPPY picture – on some channels I think that I can actually count the pixels :-( Put a DVD in and the quality is EXCELLENT but go to watch our \”supposed\” Digital TV REALLY SUCKS!!! I wish I could make the money of our cable provider makes for a service we are paying for but not really getting!!

    James

    Comment by James -

  74. Dead on.. It\’s really frustrating to be forced to pay for 200 channels that Ill never watch just so I can have the opportunity to get 15 stations that may have an HD program running. Most of the Pay Movie Channels are not in HD and the ones that are often show non-HD pictures.

    I really could go on for days about the Cable companies restrictive programming and lack of choice so I better just let it stand at that.

    Comment by George -

  75. Or how about NBC5 \”HD\” news? The only thing they have in HD is the studio shots of the train wrecks we know as Mike \”Do you want some of this?\” Snyder and Jane \”Snoopy Dog\” McGarry. All of their field reporting is a very shitty 4×3 with sidebars…which is even worse picture quality than CBS11\’s non-HD 4×3 SD newscast.

    Comment by aamilesslave -

  76. Mark,
    You are so so right… I purchased a HD TV last year because my old tube died after 15 years of use. But I didn\’t get digital cable until I moved a month ago.

    HD is truely the way to watch TV. But in order to get the eight HD channels I have, I pay for the crappy first 200 channels that I hardly ever watch and then the HD channels don\’t always have HD content.

    1) Give the consumers channel choice.
    2) Make networks meet a certain standard to claim being a HD network.
    3) Reduce the outrageous cable charges for content that is already advertiser supported.

    I will be another 10 years before we really have HD everywhere. I guess I\’ll suffer until then.

    Comment by Herschel -

  77. This has kept me from taking the HD plunge yet. On friends\’ TV\’s, it just has not impressed me. The only thing that\’s worth the money for HD is to play your XBox 360 on it.

    Comment by Josh Cox -

  78. Let the class-action lawsuits alleging deceptive marketing practices begin.

    Comment by Ken -

  79. Argh! You\’re not bringing good news, Mark! I blogged about this several weeks ago – when I noticed the Fox HD network had more commercials in HD than content in HD. At least that\’s the way it seems.

    http://lagesse.org/fox-commercials-in-high-def/

    Rob

    Comment by Rob La Gesse -

  80. Or worse, you do have a network that is 100% HD (ie: Food Network HD, HGTV HD, etc.), but just does endless repeats of the 5HD copies of shows they have, with no simulcast of the standard def channel. They also only show commercials that are in HD, which is great until you realize that the same commercial is used every commercial break and each commercial is 2 minutes long.

    Comment by Chris G. -

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