<body> <iframe src="https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID=7347482&amp;blogName=Grouchy+Golf+Blog&amp;publishMode=PUBLISH_MODE_HOSTED&amp;navbarType=SILVER&amp;layoutType=CLASSIC&amp;homepageUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.grouchygolf.com%2F&amp;searchRoot=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.grouchygolf.com%2Fsearch" height="30px" width="100%" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" id="navbar-iframe" frameborder="0"></iframe> <div id="space-for-ie"></div>

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".



Tuesday, March 29, 2005 at 8:28 PM

NBC Golf - Light on Humor, Heavy on Innovation

NBC is one of the big 3 over-the-air U.S. television golf broadcasters. NBC's point man is Johnny Miller, an interesting commentator because he has many opinions that he's not afraid to voice. For that, I respect him. But he and his compatriots are about as funny as my foreign-speaking grandma that I don't understand. Because I value wit and humor in my golf coverage, NBC is my least favorite golf announcing team.

However, NBC makes up for it somewhat with technological innovation. While CBS has and ABC has , these are really just super slo-mo cameras. NBC will do the generic slo-mo every once in awhile, but they also experiment with new camera angles and viewpoints. Remember when NBC affixed a miniature camera on the bill of Tiger's Nike cap at the Williams World Challenge several years ago and called it the ""? It was the first time someone not named Tiger could see the game's best swing from a first-person perspective.

Then in 2002, NBC introduced the Matrix-inspired, wraparound-angle camera effect called "Swing View." The technology utilizes more than 30 cameras to capture golf swings in motion from different angles. Johnny Miller used the technology quite effectively to slo-mo a golf swing, stop it, and then swing the camera around to another angle to break down a player's swing. While it was a little rough around the edges, it was another great innovation.

At last year's U.S. Open, NBC debuted the Bunker-Cam, a microscopic camera embedded in the lip of the front bunker that can pan and tilt by remote control. It's kinda cool, but no real value.

NBC was supposed to introduce another innovation to golf coverage at last weekend's Players Championship. Called the "Cable Cam", it features a camera on a cable that is capable of moving up to 60 mph as it tracks the shots on the par-3 17th. I watched most of NBC's coverage, but I didn't notice any shots from the Cable Cam. I assume the weather prevented NBC from using it, a real shame.

I applaud NBC for taking technology to golf coverage. My only complaint is that they don't use this stuff often enough and on a consistent basis. Maybe one day, golfers will play tournaments wearing "Eye of the Tiger" cameras. If that ever happens, you can be certain to see it on NBC first.