Grouchy Golf Blog

Friday, March 23, 2007 at 6:23 PM

NBC HD and NBCee It Is Not Must See TV

I was ecstatic to learn earlier this year that CBS is broadcasting all of its golf coverage now in glorious high-definition (HD). It looks spectacular on my 6 month-old 1080p Sharp HDTV. Well it turns out that the only other national golf television broadcaster, NBC, is broadcasting in HD too! Naturally, I expected NBC's HD coverage to rival that of its competitor, especially after they were able to see several CBS golf broadcasts. Sadly, it appears that the has lost some of its tail feathers.

Anyone who owns a high-def TV can appreciate the enhanced resolution that HD content presents over standard definition (SD). Some say once you go HD you never go back. The clarity can be amazing, but only if the content is originally shot in HD. In fact, due to rescaling and resizing, normal old SD content looks especially bad on an HDTV.

I've watched virtually every NBC golf broadcast this season, and it's obvious that they are only employing HD cameras in about half of their coverage. It appears that they use HD cameras in their towers and SD cameras on the course. One minute the picture appears as if you were there at the tournament observing through a glass window, and the next it looks like your viewing through a screen door.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that NBC is improving their golf coverage quality. However, I'm a bit irked that they are billing their presentation as HD when it is clearly only partially HD. Compared to CBS' full HD offering, NBC's "HD-lite" comes up woefully short.

But it also seems that NBC is losing ground on the innovation front. We all love CBS' Emmy award-winning to analyze golf swings. Earlier this year, NBC introduced "NBCee It" to combat SwingVision. In short, it simply enlarges any small part of the picture, like a magnifying glass over a photo. Unfortunately, the resolution of the magnified area is painfully low. It resembles the Atari 2600 game "Breakout". Disaster isn't the word. Not only does it look horrible, but it does little to enhance the swing analysis.

Then there's NBC's golf announcement team. What can I say? If not the most elegant speaker, Johnny Miller does know golf. But there's just not much exciting going on with his supporting cast. They're kind of like parsley on a dinner plate, they neither enhance nor detract from the main course. They definitely don't inject any amount of wit and humor like that of the CBS golf crew. You would have thought that NBC would have landed an interesting personality in the aftermath of the ABC golf breakup. Instead it was CBS who bolstered an already excellent crew.

Like most things, it probably boils down to money. It's clear that NBC is spending much less on it's golf coverage than CBS; much less on technology, equipment, and talent. If NBC wants to compete with CBS, they need to step up and show me the money! If they do, then maybe I'll watch more NBC shows than just "The Office" and "Heroes".


Blogger Miranda said...

NBC will probably go full HD after their next Olypmics. They will probably spend a bunch of money improving all of their technology for that and then distribute it out to the other sports coverage after the Olypmics is over.

I don't have much of a problem with the NBC announce team, except for Dottie Pepper. She's too mean and sometimes condescending. NBC should have hired Judy Rankin.  


Anonymous noisemaker said...

I share your enthusiasm for any and all HD programming. It's the only way to watch, for sure. And in the midst of my excitement for CBS's Masters coverage this year I momentarily forgot that my cable providor recently dropped CBS's HD feed from their line up. Talk about grouchy!  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Johnny"..I wish his soldiers, chasing around the course, didn't have to say that 1000 times per telecast - we know it's him!

As for the boring supporting parsley - in a word...Mark "wrong way" Rolfing!  


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