Big Technology…poor execution

24 10 2008

Okay, I made the HDTV plunge not long ago.  Got the HD channels on the Dish network, and was ready to live it up in High Definition in the living room.  But wait, what is this?  The HD channels don’t really broadcast everything in HD.  What’s with the aspect ratio, the black bars, and where is the HD consistentcy?  This is what I have seen on HD in the past month,


Now, I have to give credit to ESPN HD.  They tried to adjust for the commercials that weren’t shot in HD.  You get a picture that looks like this:

Which is great if you get this consistently.  There are two things that just drive me crazy with the whole HD world. First, it’s the typical non-standardized technology where everyone has their own little flavor.  Whether it’s the movie house with a custom aspect ratio…or the broadcast channel who doesn’t require advertisers to have HD or a standard aspect ratio on HD shot commercials.  I’m feeling like we’re in the days of format wars…i.e. beta vs. VHS, or the Blue Ray vs. HD DVD.

Second, which is the one that really burns me up as a marketer, brand manager, creative person.  The execution of this technology platform with the big broadcasters is what I would describe as poor.  I would expect an HD channel (which I’m paying a premium for) to have a company behind it ensuring excellence across this high-end technology.  Instead, what I’ve seen is ESPN HD take a half step towards this by branding their name on the side bars for commercials that are not HD.  The half step is very annoying when it goes from the branded sides to just the black bars…who is making the decision to run it on just a select few commercials.  Either make the attempt or don’t try at all.

Then you have other huge networks like Fox.  The Fox HD channel actually had their own show commercials in non-HD running on the HD channel.  Who is making that call?  Wouldn’t you want to at least represent yourself well on YOUR OWN HD CHANNEL.  Shouldn’t some producer/GM over programming make the call to create all self-promoting network commercials in HD?

I understand format wars, technology development, and platform growing pains.  I have a hard time understanding poor execution on a technology platform that is on the cutting edge.  Okay, there’s my 2 cents…in HD 🙂

Breathe In & Smile Out,



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