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Author Topic: SPEED's First Coverage in HD  (Read 497 times)
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Cheryl
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« on: February 09, 2008, 12:40:30 PM »

I didn't watch any of the "media day" stuff on SPEED on Thursday, but came home and settled in to get my first view of their HD conversion on DirecTV after work on Friday.  First off, I'm not sure if they are using better cameras than Fox (1080i vs 720p), but their pictures looked awesome!  Now during the first segment of NASCAR Live and first practice, the sound mixing was truly awful!  It was listed on my receiver as Dolby Digital, but you could barely hear the announcers through the center channel over the car sounds and PA system at the track coming out of the other four speakers.  Thankfully, they got that fixed by the second segment of Cup practice.

Of course, when DW and Larry Mac came on, having them drowned out by race car noises wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  Especially when DW had to use another one of his made-up words (juking) over and over and over again.  When they showed Jimmie Johnson explaining to his crew chief how his car was bouncing, DW tried to say he was probably telling him it was "juking."  Yeah, I'm sure that's the word Jimmie was using.  Ugh...The only definition of "juke" to me would be to describe a "juke box" or "juke joint." 

I was torn between listening to Claire's updates on XM and enjoying the glorious pictures on SPEED, but eventually I put the audio on XM and close-captioning on the TV.  Awwwww...DW is much easier to take that way.   laugh  Then I had the best of both worlds.

What bothered me was from the time I turned the TV on (just before 4pm), SPEED never ONCE told us anything about ARCA qualifying.  It had been going on since noon and there wasn't any information available on the ARCA webpage either, so I was anxious to tune into SPEED to hear about it.  I was particulary interested in hearing who among the 70+ cars made the race.  There were 12-15 Hooters drivers attempting to qualify (all of which made the race, led by Matt Carter in 6th - Yippeee!  He's such a nice guy).

After a few minutes of SPEED, I paused the TV and went over to XM for the beginning of Claire's show at 4:00.  Almost as soon as Claire came on, she told us the starting grid and the controversy about Ken Butler, III getting the pole and then immediately being DQed.  Hmmm...Michael Waltrip Racing being embroiled in another controvery at Daytona?  What a surprise!

A lot of people seem to think SPEED is the holy grail of race coverage, but IMHO they focus way too much on Winston Cup over everything else (not unlike ESPN).  I don't believe they ever told us anything about ARCA yesterday, even during the breaks in Cup practice.  That's just sad when those guys are actually having a full-length race tonight (as opposed to the contrived exhibition Cup is having).

Now it was neat to see Ken Squire back and John Roberts is always excellent, but I'm sorry, who exactly is this Rutlege guy and who did he sleep with to get his job?  While having he and Hermie Sadler sit on the fake "beach" by Lake Lloyd and have a bogus boat race might be humourous, to me, it just seemed like the start of yet another year where Fox gags take precedence over racing. 

But I will say I was impressed by the quality of the HD picture on SPEED - now if they could just upgrade the content a bit. 

Anybody else have SPEED in HD and watched any of the coverage since they converted on Thursday?

Cheryl
« Last Edit: February 09, 2008, 07:50:19 PM by Cheryl » Logged
Steve
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2008, 03:11:35 AM »

I have Speed in HD but didn't come home until late yesterday. Today, I finally tuned in to watch the ARCA race and RaceDay, and boy, was I amazed at the picture quality! Watching the Shootout on Fox right now, I think Speed is putting out a better picture than Fox, but that might be something to do with different signal compression between the two networks; I'm not completely sure.

They're keeping Rutledge around this year?  I was hoping they would get a clue and get rid of him, but apparently not. Angry

It's good to have Ken Squire back this year; I was thinking he might stop doing Speedweeks by now, but it's nice he's still around. What role is he playing on there?

On a final note, I actually like Speed's graphics better in HD. In my topic about the Rolex 24, I expressed my long-running dismay for the graphics, but it turns out that I didn't like them before because you couldn't read them. Now, with HD, you can read them. For everyone stuck with SD, though, reading the graphics is still a chore.
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Steve
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2008, 01:10:13 AM »

I'm watching the SPEED Report right now, and to my surprise, it's not in HD even though they're doing it live from Daytona where they have HD cameras. They're using non-HD 16:9 cameras with widescreen (non-HD) graphics and a stretch-o-vision ticker.

It's still good to have professionals like Bob Varsha and Krista Voda hosting the show, though.

Edit: Near the end of the show, Krista claimed that they were in HD. It's possible that the on-set cameras were in HD, but the quality still didn't look pixel-perfect like it did during their coverage yesterday. I know for sure that none of the pre-recorded bits or highlights were in HD, though. You'd think they would at least present the Bud Shootout highlights in HD.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2008, 02:06:34 AM by Steve » Logged
Cheryl
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2008, 01:38:15 PM »

I think half these networks feel that the viewers are too stupid to know the difference between true HD and stretched content.  I mean, TNT has been doing it for years on a lot of their movies and our local NBC station out of Baltimore has been doing that for a lot of local content since I got an HDTV.  Shows like Scrubs are still not being produced in HD on NBC for some reason. 

Cheryl
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