An HDTV Kick in the Pants

Last week, CBS Television and Thomson multimedia's RCA brand announced that they have entered into an advertising agreement for Thomson to underwrite the costs of producing high-definition coverage of Super Bowl XXXV as well as the four AFC playoff games. CBS reports that all NFL HDTV programming will be broadcast in 1920x1080i, the highest-definition widescreen digital television format.

Produced by CBS, the five live HDTV telecasts are expected to be transmitted independently of the regularly scheduled CBS football coverage being broadcast on the traditional analog network. The five games getting the HDTV treatment are: AFC Wildcard: Sunday, December 31, 2000; AFC Division playoffs: Saturday, January 6 and Sunday, January 7, 2001; The AFC Championships: Sunday, January 14; and Super Bowl XXXV, Sunday, January 28, from Tampa, Florida.

According to the network, 31 of its owned and affiliated stations are currently broadcasting in digital, covering approximately 45% of the nation. By the end of the year, CBS expects to be transmitting digital programming across approximately 41 stations, reaching approximately 58% of the US.

CBS's Sean McManus states that "CBS Sports is pleased to partner with Thomson and further the network's position as a leader in the digital sports television area—CBS continues to create more opportunities than other networks for viewers to enjoy high-definition television." RCA's Tom Wardrop explains their end of the deal, commenting that "As the consumer electronics sponsor for the NFL and a leading manufacturer of digital television products, RCA is the ideal company to bring the finale of the football season to homes in HDTV. The Super Bowl is the most watched program all year on television—once football fans see their favorite games in HDTV, they'll never want to go back to the same old screen."