Another day another Grand Final delivered in standard definition. Yesterday, we covered the failing of Channel 7 to broadcast the AFL Grand Final in HD, today it’s Rugby League fans who are exploding over WIN’s 576i broadcast.
The reason sport benefits from HD is reduced motion blur, better clarity, better colours and better sound. All of these factors add up to make the football experience a great one. Instead standard definition broadcasts leaves your expensive HDTV appear blurry, muddy and feels like you’ve stepped back in time to your old tube TV.
Apparently those with green thumbs are more important than sport fans because today, GEM is busy showing “Garden Gurus”.
Those paying subscribers to FOXTEL are enjoying the football finals in high definition, when means Freeview customers are being treated as second class citizens. Football rights are a multi-million dollar deals and clearly this deal where free-to-are customers get screwed over needs to change for next year.
Make no mistake about it, wether the broadcast is in standard or high definition, advertisers pay premiums to put their brand in front of large audiences. The HD cameras, equipment and channel licences are investments that have already been made. Basically it comes down to the rights negotiated and the dollars spent for those right, but the quality of the stream should not be part of the conditions negotiated.
Pay TV are well within their rights to negotiate the broadcasting of more games as their point of difference and justification for charging. The finals however, should be delivered to all Australians in the best quality available. Remember that we’re not even talking about revolutionary distribution methods like mobile or online. If the AFL and NRL can’t get broadcasts right with their bread and butter, I don’t hold hope for new modes.
Worse still is that its not a single rugby grand final that’s getting the lousy 576i treatment, there’s matches all day including state games like Jets vs Tigers in NSW. The image below indicates the quality issue with SD broadcasts of fast moving sports.
There was a moment in time where sport in this country was a first class citizen on FreeView. That was the short-lived OneHD channel which dropped 24/7 of sport and disappointingly became an also ran of movie repeats.