The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 October 2006

Widescream

I don't watch too much TV — practically none this time of year, what with the deluge of noxious political spots — so I probably won't be an early HDTV adopter.

And if I were going to be, Matt Deatherage would have talked me out of it:

I've had HDTV capabilities for two years now, and I don't advise anyone here to make the investment in it yet.

Why? Because the local stations and providers screw it up all the time (and yes, Mike, I almost literally mean that).

All five major networks broadcast in HDTV in Oklahoma City, but honest to God, they just don't take it very seriously, and there are strong indications that the management of most of these stations just doesn't give a damn. Cox OKC's digital cable refuses to carry either the Fox or ABC local HD affiliates (KOKH-DT for Fox, KOCO-DT for ABC) because the station owners (Sinclair Broadcasting and Hearst/Argyle of Ohio/Oklahoma, respectively) demand extra payments to carry their digital stations and Cox refuses to pay it. DirecTV will start carrying them in MPEG-4 by the end of the year (so you can only get them with DirecTV's own HD receivers and recorders, not the TiVo one), but like all HD over satellite, it will be far, far more compressed than the picture over the air — and will cost you more money.

Cox dropped KOCO-DT on October 1 after the previous contract expired, which meant Cox customers did not get the OU-Texas game in HD unless they had an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. The very next day, on Sunday, KOCO decided it needed to do "some work" on its digital transmitter — so it went dark for two days. It is unimaginable that a commercial network TV affiliate would take its signal off the air for