The Start of the World Cup (in High Definition?)

You may know that I’m not a huge sports fan so a post on the topic might be a bit surprising. I don’t follow football regularaly but it’s pretty difficult to not be excited about the World Cup games when you live in any country in the world but the US. Businesses close down. Pubs fill up. Faces are painted. Everyone is wearing sports gear but you’re not surrounded by chavs. Overall it’s just a great time.

I thought that I would be able to treat myself and some mates to matches in high definition television for the first time. We could see two out of the three matches in glorious detail. Only one had to be watched in the blocky and blurry resolution that’s been around since the 1950s. Can you guess which one? Of course it was the England match.

We still managed to have a great time and cheer on England to a win. We had a great BBQ and I can’t really complain. From tomorrow I’m looking in to why I can’t get BBC in HD and I hope to have it all sorted out as soon as possible. In time for the USA match tomorrow is doubtful, for the Korean match on Tuesday is possible but I’ll be at work and Thursday we’ll probably watch it in the pub if we can find a place to stand. So I guess I don’t have to be in too much of a hurry about it.

Americans are already familiar with the improvements that highdef broadcasts give you but the UK is only launching service now. You can get it on Sky and a mere 450 of us are trialling the broadcast in London. I felt lucky when I was selected but the wind fell out of those sails on yesterday. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch at least one England match at full resolution!

Come on England!

It’s only fair to provide some impressions of the high definition TV (HDTV) service. At first we weren’t that impressed but I think it’s because we were just too picky and looking for very specific details. We settled in to the first half and were quite shocked when we switched back to the standard definition TV (SDTV) during halftime as a comparison. All of the sudden, everything looked blocky and blurry. We really couldn’t believe that we had to watch the England game like that! It is something that you just get used to after a while and forget how good it is. What I could have done without was watching the sweat pour off of Jim Rosenthal’s face. At the start of the halftime broadcast he was dry as a bone but mere minutes in and he was dripping wet. We went back to the SDTV broadcast and you couldn’t notice a thing at all. Announcers must hate HDTV!

Now, for the Americans who might not realise that a game with contestants from all around the world is actually happening, you can view the BBC World Cup 2006 Schedule. USA is ranked quite highly this year so you should tune in! The games are being broadcast in HDTV to the US too as far as I know.


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