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National Hockey League Debuts in HDTV tonight on HDNet Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 October 2001
It is that time of year again. It is the time for a new season of NHL Hockey. Just think about it…. the blood, the guts, the scoring action, the playoff race – I can’t stand the anticipation.

This year the ante has been upped by broadcasting pioneer and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban.

For the 2001-02 season 65 NHL games will be broadcast in high quality HDTV on HDNet, channel 199 on DirecTV. Tonight’s game featuring the Los Angeles Kings versus the Phoenix Coyotes (10:30 EST) is the first of the broadcasts. Historically, hockey has gotten low ratings as compared to basketball, football and even NASCAR auto racing. Hockey enthusiasts and media annalists say that hockey is tough for the general public to follow on TV because there is so much on-screen action along with a fast moving and small puck. Fox failed miserably with their "glow puck" experiment to address the problems with NHL hockey on television.

HDTV is a far more powerful solution for hockey broadcasts on TV because it adds a 16x9 aspect ratio to the watching experience which is more rectangular than traditional 3:2 aspect ratio found on the current NTSC standard. Add in HDTV’s 1080I resolution versus the 480I resolution of NTSC and you have the ability to discern more of the action and see the puck more clearly.

Other than being expensive for early adopters, the big knock on HDTV has been its lack of content, especially live content. HDNet is bringing needed sports coverage to the new television format so that sports fans around the nation will have a reason to get dialed into HDTV.

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