Thursday, August 17, 2006

How big a star can change a resolution?

I enjoy my HDTV so much, that I have built a high-definition PVR from a Windows Media Center Edition just to time-shift it. I also have been capturing still screen shots and posting them to my Flickr account to share the amazing scenery. Even the talk shows like Leno and Letterman look brilliant in HD; it's not just those sporting events or helicopter shots in CSI that lure me in. But could the stars on these shows start telling the networks how to broadcast their signal? That's exactly what happened on Late Night with David Letterman on Wednesday, August 16th, 2006 when Christina Agulara visited. After her amazing performance, she has the pipes of a dozen gospel singers from Atlanta, broadcast in HDTV, Letterman went to commercial and came back on in HD with the show bumper. What happened before the bumpers faded into the set was interesting however; the program went not only narrow screen but into digital NTSC, standard-definition. Gone was the wide aspect ratio, rich contrast and details that I was waiting for with the close-up shots of David and Christina.

How did this happen? Did Christina, her people, her publicist (who says she hurt her TENDONS in her arm at home on July 16) or her label RCA, owned by BMG put the pressure on CBS or Viacom, who owns MTV, to down-res the show?

The damage on her arm doesn't look like tendon injuries at all; but something that the 24 year old would walk away from a cat-fight with. It wouldn't be her first altercation, in July 2005, Page Six quoted a source as saying "Christina hurt her arm in a scuffle with a drunk fan at a nightclub." But that's not the point of this story.

Who can force the networks to turn off their HDTV broadcast when they want to mask something from the viewing audience? I want to know, and I do not want this happening again.

Dozens of photos regarding this story in high-definition and the low-def evidence can be found here: