Things were going along nicely in the digital FTA TV world. TV Networks had HD broadcasts, they had started pushing extra content on a separate SD channel. Things were great.
Then they had the idea: wait a minute, we're simulcasting our normal channel in HD, when we could be using it for other stuff! Not entirely a bad idea.
The ABC scrapped it's HD ABC1 channel for a HD 24-hour news channel. Hmmm, now I can't watch Dr Who and Foreign Correspondent in high definition. That sucks, but it's not a disaster, a 24-hour FTA news channel isn't all that bad.
Now Nine and 7 have scrapped their HD simulcast channels for new channels, Gem and 7mate respectively. Ok, let's see what's on them during the weekend: Gem spends most of the weekend showing movies from the 40s-60s in stunning non-high-definition on a HD broadcast. Smart.
Then came 7mate this past weekend. There was an AFL Grand Final to be contested (again) on Saturday afternoon. For some fantastic reason the Seven Network thought that a sporting spectacle of such a nature deserved to be displayed only in SD, whilst their HD channel was used to broadcast... wait for it: reruns of Magnum PI and Knight Rider.
Really? After all the digital TV takeup and a fair chunk of the population now having high-definition televisions, one of the biggest domestic sporting events of the year gets broadcast in SD. Even my aging 5 year-old 720p TV was crying having to display that garbage.
This recent trend of the FTA TV networks sacrificing their main HD channels to broadcast mostly second-rate TV shows and olden-time movies and TV is appalling. What a waste of high-definition, when a lot of this content isn't even widescreen for goodness sake.
The sad thing is that things probably won't change until either the government gives the FTA networks more spectrum to broadcast on (unlikely), or until around 2014 when analogue signals are permanently turned-off in all the capital cities.
If they really had balls they would show this secondary stuff on their 'normal' standard definition channel, and leave the HD one for the primary programming. But then of course all the (I would wager, mostly elderly) people who haven't yet upgraded/converted to digital wouldn't see their primary programming. boo hoo.
By the way, this was one of my first decent rants for the year. Congrats for making it this far! 😉