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Morbid Week for HD Fans

Jan 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

It was a morbid week for HD fans.
First, HDNet announced they will air exclusive high-definition footage of the funeral service for President Gerald R. Ford.
Then, a Newsweek report said that the execution video of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was shot with an HD camera.
Though the former news is certainly correct (HDNet’s coverage aired Tuesday), the latter is still in question. Network sources have been unable to confirm to TelevisionWeek that an HD version of the execution exists.
The footage that has aired so far is in standard definition.
In the case of HDNet, the channel has a history of airing memorial service footage in HD for public figures such as Yasser Arafat and Pope John Paul II. The programs are part of HDNet’s strategy to air exclusive HD footage of news landmarks, such as space shuttle launches and sporting events.
Even though all the major broadcast networks have HD simulcasts, and all aired footage of the service, only HDNet had the procession in HD. When asked how his network manages to get the only HD feed, HDNet co-founder Mark Cuban replied simply, “We make [HD] a priority and the other networks don’t.”
As for the Saddam Hussein video, the news of an HD version prompted a flurry of jokes on AVS Forum (the best: “great, Iraqi hangmen are more advanced than the SciFi Channel”) and raised the question of whether some lurid content is made less palatable by an HD feed.
“At this stage of the game all content should be recorded in HD,” AVS co-founder David Bott said. “[But] the airing of putting someone to death is just bad content, HD or not.”
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s High Definition newsletter, a weekly source of breaking HD news, articles and interviews written by Senior Reporter James Hibberd.

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