With a sizable number of live sports events now available in high-definition, future plans for additional HD sports channels, and digital HDTV sets continuing to drop in price, the too often-used "chicken-and-egg" analogy for HDTV in the U.S. no longer applies.
Comcast Sports Net has built a 53-foot expandable HDTV production truck with 10 Sony HDCAM cameras for roughly $8 million. The company also built a new production control facility in Philadelphia to produce its own programs.
It's clear that a significant number of live sports productions, most offered by cable and satellite TV providers, is being produced almost daily in HD.
During a panel discussion at the 16th annual Sports Summit in New York City last week, representatives from Comcast Sports Net said the Philadelphia-based cable operator produces nearly 200 live sports broadcasts and plans to produce 100 more when the company takes control of nearly 4 million new Chicago area subscribers in October.
Additionally, ESPN produces more than 100 HDTV live sports broadcasts, the Madison Square Garden Network in New York produces dozens, and ABC, NBC and CBS offer a myriad of special sports events in HD. Fox also has begun to consider full HD broadcasts.
Veteran program provider iN DEMAND has also announced that it will make hundreds of live sporting events and classic U.S. Olympic telecasts available to cable operators and DBS providers this year. This includes professional baseball (three games per week) and tennis, college basketball, football and even volleyball.
"We can't control how many people buy HDTV sets, but we're doing our part to drive demand," said Jack Williams, president and CEO of Comcast Sports Net. "We realized early on that we had to do something to get the transition moving and we did."
Comcast SportsNet has built a 53-foot expandable HDTV production truck with 10 Sony HDCAM cameras for roughly $8 million. The company also built a new production control facility in Philadelphia to produce its own programs.