TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.


Trial and Error

McDreaming in Hi-Def

July 25, 2007 10:02 AM

Dr. McDreamy’s baby blues look even better in hi-def.

‘Course, I’ve been watching in hi-def on my real TV all season long. You know, the one in the living room that gives you that good old-fashioned 10-foot experience?

Nevertheless, ABC.com launched its beta test today of its full-episode player in hi-def, marking the first time a network has offered hi-def episodes of its shows online. Now mind you, the shows already looked pretty good in standard-def online, as ABC.com does a bang-up job with its player. Still, more pixels is more pixels, so I check it out.

The hi-def episodes won’t work for everyone. I won’t get into the boring technical details, but you’ll need to have a newer computer that can handle hi-def. How will you know if yours does? Simple. Go to ABC.com, click on full episodes, and then click on the hi-def option. If it lets you select an episode in hi-def, your computer can handle it. If it won’t, time to ask your boss to pony up for a better machine.


My one beef about the navigation of the player is that you have to specifically click on the button for hi-def, which means you can’t just select the series you want to see. I originally tried clicking on the show icon until I figured this trick out.

Only four episodes are in hi-def now anyway, one each from “Lost,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ugly Betty.” ABC will add more in the fall.

But once I found the hi-def button, the experience was smooth sailing. The season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” loaded immediately. I must confess, the screen looked a little blurry at first and I was ready to pronounce the experiment dead on arrival! But after 20 seconds, the blurriness resolved into that crisp clarity only hi-def brings—you can see the blemishes on the Chief’s face, the sharpness of the scalpels, the crystal-clear pools of blue in Patrick Dempsey’s eyes. ...


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Comments (1)


It sure loads fast! But I think the Allstate commercial looks much better than the actual episode, at least on my monitor.

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