Where’s the HD?

Dave Zatz —  October 19, 2007

Chris, of Amazon Daily, and I were recently lamenting that we don’t receive many HD channels via Comcast (he’s in Seattle, I’m outside DC). Maybe it wouldn’t be so painful if we weren’t aware of other Comcast regions, such as New England, receiving at least a half dozen more HD channels – many of which we’d actually watch (CNN, Food, HGTV). However, this phenomenon isn’t limited to Comcast — Verizon has only added two FiOS TV HD channels (A&E, Fox Business) in recent months and EngadgetHD speculates they’re currently out of bandwidth. But even DirecTV’s massive offering of 70 HD channels (about 4x my count), isn’t entirely delivering yet… What percent of those provide true HD content and at what frequency? Heck, I was channel surfing last night and it looks like much (all?) of the national evening news is still 4:3. The studios, networks, and operators really need to get with the program…

19 responses to Where’s the HD?

  1. No argument, but I have to ask: Comcast doesn’t offer your local channels in HD? Reason I ask: I watch NBC Nightly News at 6:30pm in 1080i. I’ll have to check the other local channels for their national news coverage in my area. Bear in mind: I’m getting my locals OTA and not from Dish, my content provider. Still, I thought most folks are getting national news in HD now…maybe not?

  2. I have DirecTV and we have lots o’HD these days. Not sure about the network news, but here in Ann Arbor, the Detroit local news is in HD on 2 of the 3 channels offering it. Not usually near the HD set at dinner time.
    But I do love all the new HD channels, many with a fair amount of HD content, even the Food Channel and HGTV have a lot of HD content. Unlike some channels that will remain nameless that just stretch old repeats to fill the screen.

  3. Last night I was setting up my new TiVo HD – analog cable and HD OTA for now. What channel is Katie Couric on? She was 4:3 last night via ATSC and so was one at least one of the others. Of the local affiliates, I think CBS is the only evening news show in HD. Though I can’t say I watch many news shows. Melissa watches a ton of CNN, so I know she’d appreciate that in HD.

  4. My biggest frustration with Comcast is that they offer HDTV for TBS and ESPN in San Francisco, but won’t allow cablecard users to get the signal without agreeing to pay for their “digital” package. I’m not sure why they have to provide local channels, but then don’t have to provide other HDTV content, but think it’s a bogus policy to have.

  5. Have you checked lately? For awhile here you either had to pay $5 or $10/mo for HD and/or get the Digital Tier ($15ish I think). But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore… At least not on my specific account – I’m willing to bet each of my neighbors has different pricing though.

  6. I have Comcast in New England. I have to say that while I enjoy having the channels, some are pointless. A&EHD, FoddNetworkHD, and HGTVHD all run older shows and they run them on a short cycle. So you will see the same shows being run ove and over. Not sure why they can’t simul-cast their standard def shows on the HD channel.

  7. I’m happy with Suddenlink here in Amarillo, TX, they aquired Cox cable about a year ago and have been adding HD channels ever since. Right now we have about 16 HD channels including all the networks. I recently decided to get rid of the cable company’s HD DVR and buy two Tivo HDs just so I can record and watch all my shows in HD. Another suprise was how easy it was to get 4 cablecards for the Tivos.

  8. Even worse FiOS only added 1 HD channel. Fox Business is SD. A&E just has a bunch of stretch-o-vision, but it is a HD channel.

  9. Try one HD channel in 6 months Dave. They added Fox Business in SD, not HD.

    If that isn’t proof they’re running low on bandwidth, I don’t know what is.

  10. Tell Chris, that I had read that Seattle Comcast Regional said they’d be adding five HD channels before years end. He declined to say which ones they are except some NFL-ish type channel.

    You think the head of the Seattle Region would have a clue as to his market. Jeez.

  11. Dish Network’s HD programming is significant and is worth every penny, they’ve been running movie channel previews for the last 4 weekends and you get a sampling of the HD movie channels this way, it’s a bonus if you got an HD DVR

  12. I’ve heard the “5 new channels in Seattle” buzz, but the NFL channel requires a separate, add-on service tier to get. Declining to name the other 4 is pretty bogus, as is the accompanying announcement that Comcast was raising rates in Seattle for the second time this year.

    I’d drop them for Directv in a heartbeat if I could. I was already aggravated that Comcast here failed to provide the 10-15 HD games per week that were advertised with the MLB Extra Innings package this year. Not getting TBS-HD for the MLB playoffs was also a huge disappointment.

    Overall I wish Comcast were more national with their programming like the satellite companies. They send out press releases all the time saying they’ve added this or that HD channel and then you find out that your city or region isn’t getting it and they won’t say when it might come later. Meanwhile, they keep jacking up the rates and sending me 2 letters a week to sign up for phone service that I don’t need or want.

  13. I just fired comcast and went back to Direct TV, most of Sci-Fi’s and FX’s new shows are all in HD. So far I’m pretty happy with the switch, and I’m actually paying a few bucks less then I was to comcast for a ton more HD content. In my area in Sunnyvale, CA they where really not doing much more then the locals and a couple others, nothing compared to the draw Direct TV has now.

    Here is a mystery though, how come nobody has CW in HD? Seems like the ONLY way to get it is OTA.

  14. Oddly, Comcast Seattle has the CW in HD.

  15. Are you sure? I know that the guide claims it’s HD in comcast sunnyvale but it’s not (at least the Direct TV guide is accurate). The whole CW thing is just weird around here I guess.

  16. Yeppers, it is. I can look up the channel when i get home. But I recall it to be channel 111.

  17. Yes, it is channel 111.

  18. I’m just happy to get what I get. I got TBSHD just in time for 1/2 of the LCS.

    Maybe someday I can watch BSG in HD on a better HD channel than UHD.

  19. Funny you should ask that, I work for a company that has a website: WhereIsHD.com It tells you by provider, by zip what HD offerings you have! The site also has HD News, and more!

    Check it out.
    http://www.whereishd.com