This might be an amazingly dumb question, but has anyone heard about any plans to broadcast WM 21 (or *any* WWE programming) in HD? I'm sure if they had, it would have been noted already, but you never know.
A search of the WWE Corporate website turned up nothing (but they ARE hiring writers and on-air talent again). Any of you W's heard anything? Heck, is implementing HD cameras and equipment even that difficult to do?
edit: I did find this press release (snellwilcox.com) that says they're converting to HD, but nothing about this year's WrestleMania. Arrgh...
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That press release is pretty much all we've heard about the Fed's HD plans so far. No dates for conversion, format plans, etc. (Though both of the conglomerates they deal with, Viacom and most likely NBC Uni, favor 1080i.)
The biggest problem is delivery platforms. Spike is telecast in 480i, as is USA, and neither have announced plans to change. Nor do Dish, Direct or most cablers have the ability to carry those channels in HD. UPN produces and broadcasts in 1080i, but many affiliates are just now converting over to HD.
Only the PPVs could be reliably seen in HD, as most cablers and satcasters have a HD PPV channel they could use.
It would be smarter for WWE to plan a WM XXII launch for HD, as USA and UPN might be in better position to deliver the content in the full 1080i. Plus, HDDVDs and BluRay HD discs will be on the market and the Fed can pick a format to further confuse consumers. Shooting in HD now would be nice for archival purposes, but little else.
What they could do is what UFC and K1 does. They film all their PPVs in HD and sell the rights to HDTV channels. INHD and HDNET play old UFC, K1, and King of the Cage PPVs all the time. I could see HDNET picking up WWE PPVs after the fact as Mark Cuban owns that network.
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Originally posted by BattlezoneHeck, is implementing HD cameras and equipment even that difficult to do?
It is a pain in the ass if you're covering an event, like a WrestleMania, in both NTSC (regular ol' TV) and HD. You've gotta duplicate EVERYTHING: separate cameras, cables, audio lines, record/playback decks, editing gear, an entirely separate control truck, satellite uplink...and crews to run it all.
That's why Panasonic dropped out of doing HDTV broadcasts w/ ABC of Monday Night Football after just a couple years...luckily for us, ABC took on the whole job themselves.
Plus, that earlier press release basically just said that WWE is just "upconverting" their signal: taking their existing NTSC signal and shunting it over for broadcast on HD PPV channels. It'll just be available on that channel as well as the normal channel where you'd see WrestleMania on PPV...the quality won't be any better than a standard NTSC signal.
And one further speculatory note: considering how heavy WWE has invested in film (not just their movie-making department, but shooting big events on actual, honest-to-goodness FILM for editing into home video releases...like the shots of Austin used in the extras menus on The Stone Cold TruthDVD), and the still-ongoing format wars, who knows how long the conversion might take.
It's a cliche in this business, but: stay tuned...
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