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:


Ryan said...

You may want to double check with your local station, though. Since the following show is in SD, the station may not have gone back to the HD network signal for the last segment of the show. I can't quite tell from your images, but it does look like a local upconvert rather than the network doing the upconverting.

Dave said...

Great comment Ryan. I thought of that scenario this the afternoon and checked it tonight. Dave was HDTV up to the last credit then the network went standard for the following show bumper.

I wonder what happened to the girl anyway... No tabloid trash is posted this year, only her events of last.

Ryan said...

Hey Dave,

This episode reairs tonight and I double checked it here on the east coast feed and the final segment is indeed in HD. You might check it can definitely see the 'fight marks' on the inside of her arm.

Dave said...

Thanks for the head's up. It re-aired here in its HD entirety. So, why it happened is a mystery. Did her people pull the West Coast feed the first run and miss the second? The first viewing had the "Late Show" marquee in HD then switched to low-def right before they faded into the studio cameras... New pictures are posted of the HD interview.

Ryan said...

I'm pretty sure it was a local issue for your affiliate. Some stations pull out of the HD signal on the last segment so they can easily go into the Late Late Show or whatever they may air after Letterman. At our station, we used to come back from the last commercial break in SD..but now we have the proper toys to make the switch of HD & SD between the two shows nearly seamless.