Ten is set to broadcast every Saturday night game in high definition along with all of its September finals including the Grand Final. Digital television has floundered in Australia and this could be the shot in the arm it needs. Blu-ray and HD DVD might be starting to drive HDTV sales, but in Australia sport will be the major driver.
If content is king, sport is the king of kings - just ask any media mogul. Rupert Murdoch wanted to buy Manchester United to ensure broadcast rights for his pay TV networks, while Kerry Packer went as far as inventing World Series Cricket just so he could televise it. The promise of high definition sport should win more fans for high definition television - a fact not lost on Sony which has been appointed "a major sponsor of Ten’s High Definition AFL telecasts as well as the AFL’s official consumer electronics partner".
High definition sport will finally offer a chance to put the latest high definition televisions to the ultimate test. Sport looks terrible on even the latest and greatest LCD televisions - the close ups of the players look great but the long shots of the play look shocking. It's like watching low-res video over the internet - everything becomes pixelated and the players are surrounded by a blurry halo when they move. Sometimes the ball isn't even the right shape. If you paid thousands of dollars for a such TV you wouldn't be happy come the footy season.
When sport does look bad it's hard to know what to blame, the television or the standard definition broadcast signal. Once sport is broadcast high definition they be no excuses to hide behind.
High definition footy - blood, sweat, tears all in glorious detail. Bring it on.