The Olympics in HD - broken promises by NBC??

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Bob McElfresh, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Boy this is frustrating! Is NBC doing a 'bait and switch'?

    At local TV stores, I was bombarded with NBC 'commercials' on HD display televisions explaining that they were going to offer 24 hours of Olympic coverage in 16:9 with DD 5.1 sound.

    Great!

    But then, on the NBC olympics web site, they offer a channel guide like this:

    NBC Universal Coverage Grid

    So the coverage is spread around a bunch of stations, only 1 of which is offered in HD (NBC) for 9 hrs per day (split into 3 parts including 12:30 am - 2 am).

    But they have that last column labeled "HDTV" like it is another channel. What is that channel? Does anybody know?

    I called the local NBC station and was told - "we dont have anything to do with that. Try calling New York."

    Does anybody know what is going on with NBC's olympics coverage?
     
  2. Dick White

    Dick White Stunt Coordinator

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    That last column would indicate that everyting is in HD. But for me, the only channel that broadcasts HD is NBC, so I wouldn't see HD on any of the other channels. I don't know whether any of them even has an HD channel, but I suspect that they don't. It does appear to be misleading.
     
  3. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    NBC plans 399 hours of HD content from the Olympics. However,
    it will come from the host broadcaster with NBC graphics and logos.
     
  4. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    The press release from NBC seems to indicate that all HDTV will be from the network digital broadcast. I interpret this to mean that only the main channel coverage will possibly be in high definition.

    Excerpted from the NBC press release.

    NEW YORK – June 9, 2004 – NBC's unprecedented 24-hour, around-the-clock coverage of the 2004 Olympic Games from Athens will total 1,210 hours and expanded from five to seven platforms with the addition today of high definition coverage on NBC's HDTV affiliates. The announcement was made by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.

    ·For the first time by a U.S. broadcaster at a Summer Olympics, NBC will provide high definition coverage. NBC's HDTV affiliates will offer separate, in-depth coverage in high definition from several venues in Athens. The high definition coverage on NBC digital affiliates totals 399 hours and accounts for the vast majority of the increased coverage.

    NBC
    The NBC network schedule is divided into three dayparts: afternoon, primetime and late night – for a total of 226 hours of coverage over 17 days beginning with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m. NBC's primetime coverage will include gymnastics, swimming, diving, track and field.

    The first week of the Olympics features gymnastics and swimming, two sports in which the USA is especially strong this year. The USA's women's gymnastics team is the reigning world champion and favorite for a team gold medal and the USA men's gymnastics team is led by Paul Hamm, the reigning all-around world champion. In swimming, the USA is as strong as ever. Michael Phelps, the 19-year-old phenom, is looking for a record gold medal haul and Natalie Coughlin is the world record holder in the 100m backstroke and a multi-medal threat.

    HDTV
    For the first time by a U.S. broadcaster at a Summer Olympics, NBC will provide high definition coverage. NBC's separate, unique HDTV coverage on NBC's digital affiliates, presented by Sony Electronics Inc., will provide HDTV coverage on delay of six sports from the only main Olympic venues provided in high definition by the Olympic host broadcaster. Those sports include swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field, medal rounds of basketball and the men's soccer gold medal final. The HDTV coverage will total 399 hours and is a completely different production from the standard definition broadcast on the network. NBC has 124 HDTV affiliates with the potential to cover 86 percent of the country.

    "The addition of a special high definition Olympic platform, specifically for our affiliate partners, is something they have long sought," said Randy Falco, President, NBC Universal Television Networks Group. "We are delighted to be able to provide it to them exclusively."

    The worst part of the coverage will be the "extra" delay added to the HD broadcast.

    There is quite detailed discussion of the coverage here:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0&pagenumber=1
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Good Link John, thanks.
     
  6. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

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    NBC sucks! Except for the 1-hour delayed opening ceremony, all other HD coverage is 1 day behind the standard coverage. NBC did the same thing 4 years ago. This is pretty lame for a technology that's supposed to be the future.
     
  8. Mike_J_Potter

    Mike_J_Potter Second Unit

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    Agreed I looked at the schedule and it seems like the majority of the coverage is going to be Swimming and Gymnastics. Though towards the end it looks they will be showing some basketball and soccer. HD coverage looks like an after thought to NBC. It would've been cool to see everything in HD, I am sure with all the countries covering it there is at least one TV crew filming every event with HD equipment.
     
  9. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    If you use the first link I provided above, you will find a discussion that answers a lot of these questions. Here are some of the points as I remember them:

    1) NBC is only delaying the HDTV coverage because some of the affiliates complained about it. They are worried about the ratings being skewed since HDTV viewers are not measured. Everything comes down to money, but I don't really understand the logic here. If everyone has an HDTV, they are going to annoy a lot of people. If only a few people have sets, the overall ratings will not be affected.
    2) NHK is providing HDTV coverage of most events for Japan.
    3) Live HDTV coverage will be available in South Korea and Japan.

    I am frustrated by all of these things. However I am equally annoyed about the way the US networks have cooked up their coverage for the last 30 years. There are too many human interest stories and not enough coverage of the events themselves.

    I am still optimistic that at least the HDTV coverage has the potential to show more events and less "stories".
     

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