FOX Goes High Def for All NFL Games
Both those games -- and four others -- will air on FOX, which will formally debut a new distribution pattern by which all NFL games on the network will be shot and sent out in high definition, even for older standard definition sets.
The thinking for the move came two years ago, according to FOX Sports Vice Chairman Ed Goren, as high def sets were being sold in greater numbers. The numbers then didn't warrant the change, but as approximately 60 percent of all television sets now can receive high definition signals, the time to switch was now.
"This is the future, and the future is now," said Goren.
FOX, with the blessing and oversight of the NFL, did three exhibition games in high def last month and they were a rousing success, according to FOX Sports President Eric Shanks. The network is still working with the handful of cable television systems that still use standard definition signals to bring them up to snuff.
Those with standard definition, or sets with a 4:3 resolution will see the games as if they were watching a movie, with a black strip across the bottom and top of the screen. Those with high def sets should be able to see receivers lined up to the top and bottom of the screen, and the entire offensive and defensive set-up from the tailback on one end to the entire secondary on the other.
"You just haven't been able to see that before," said Shanks.
It should come as no surprise that FOX is the first network to attempt such a change. From its founding in 1994, FOX has pushed the technological envelope, first with a graphics box with the score and clock appearing constantly in the corner of the screen, then with a puck that glowed and flashed red at a certain speed when shot during its hockey coverage. The glowing puck didn't catch on, but the score box has become a staple of every network's coverage.
"Everybody wants to do it and I think you're going to see very quickly now that we kind of set the wheels in motion," said Shanks. "Everybody else will start to move in that direction as well."
To wit, Harold Bryant, head of production at CBS Sports, said his network continues to shoot in standard def, but its operations department is looking into shooting in high def, pending approval from network officials.