Seven have the same problem as Nine does as far as HD broadcasting of major sporting events is concerned – no AFL game on Seven is in HD, even those that air on 7mate in some markets from time to time. Other events like Bathurst, Tennis and The Melbourne Cup – all of which attract large audiemces do not air in HD on the Seven network.
When Seven Boss Leckie was asked about HD when the AFL rights for 2012-2016 were announced, he avoided the question completely. Nine will have the same issues when or if they successfully continue with the NRL rights for 2013-2017.
Meanwhile, Foxtel promises ALL Foxtel originating AFL games to be in HD from 2012, and some even in 3D. Note some of the Foxtel games are sourced from Seven so they are only upscaled. Foxtel will be an integral part of the next NRL deal, so expect the same outcome.
But what is VERY wrong about the Foxtel situaiton is the key games like finals and origin are not allowed to air on Foxtel live, only free to air – which mens NO HD for the biggest and highest rating games of them all.
Requirement for HD coverage should be an integral part of the NRL rights negotiations – why should we have to wait until 2014? And really – what will change then anyway? The networks will still be scared to put prime content on their HD channels eclusively just for the sake of those 10-15% who only have SD boxes and can’t get HD.
Seriously – legislation is needed here. The 20 hour HD rule was written when HD TVs were unaffordable for most people – now 90% out of the 77% who have digital TV have access to the HD channels. That will be even higher come 2014.
Thing is, HD or not, they know people will still watch these major events.
As an aside point, at our place, out of all the regaulr free to air TV we watch each week – which is perhaps around 50 prime time hours between us all, not even 2 hours a week is HD content – that is despite having a 55″ full HD LCD. In 2008, before the launch of any of the commercial digital multi channels, that figure of HD content each week was around 15 hours of native HD from frree to air (well, actually we’d use the HD channels for ALL FTA TV viewing – the SD main channels were set to be skipped).