The US’s NBC network is to broadcast both the women’s Wimbledon final between the Williams sisters and the men’s match between Nadal and Federer on its HD channel.
The addition of this year’s Centre Court battles is just the latest addition to a growing selection of sporting events being shown in high def.
Sports programming is perfectly suited to high definition because of the fast motion and action in sports.
The 16:9 aspect ratio of HD provides a vastly better perspective and coverage of a game than SD.
Viewers can see, for instance, the entire ice in a hockey game or the baseball field in a baseball game.
So impressive are the results that they influenced an estimated 2.4 million high-definition television sales prior to this season’s Super Bowl in the US.
Aside from the tennis action, Panasonic has announced that it is to partner the Eurosport HD channel in a deal that ensures it uses the company’s equipment, including the HPX2100 and HVX201 high definition cameras during coverage of this summer’s Olympic Games.
It also means Panasonic will get plenty of airtime on the station, promoting its VIERA line of HDTVs, as well as running local marketing events.
Eurosport HD, which simulcasts with the standard definition Eurosport channel, began broadcasting in May this year.
And with just 30 days to go before the events kick off in Beijing, the broadcast plans in the US are getting clearer.
NBC Universal has the exclusive rights to the Olympics – for which it paid US$5.7 billion – and will produce over 3,600 hours of sporting coverage, all in high definition.
The HDTV broadcasts will be carried on NBC, USA and Universal HD, but it remains unclear what time slots will be carried on each network.
Ma Guoli, a Chinese Olympics broadcasting official, has said that he expects the Olympics to attract four billion viewers – one billion more than in Athens four years ago.
Beijing Olympics Dissemination Corporation Ltd is expected to use 65 high definition relay vehicles and 1,000 high definition cameras, as well as building a broadcasting centre with an area of up to 80,000 square metres.
“High Definition signals will be used for TV relays for all 28 Olympics events,” he said.