F1 will get HD coverage this year

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Bernie Ecclestone has finally confirmed that F1 fans will be able to watch the sport in high definition later this year.

It is not clear whether or when ITV will be able to broadcast the HD feed for UK viewers, but ITV Sport did acquire the necessary equipment earlier this year.

Global satellite broadcasting company SISLink was due to bring a HD-ready broadcasting truck to this weekend’s round at Barcelona. Now Ecclestone has revealed that HD broadcasts will be available to viewers later in 2007.

He also gave a telling insight into why it has taken so long for F1 to become available in HD:

The trouble with High Definition is that there are not many people who have got the equipment to receive it, so there is not much point. We are really broadcasting for the big screen now, rather than worrying about HD.

It’s ridiculous that it has taken Ecclestone so long to provide F1 in widescreen, which has been standard for many other sports for years. F1 HD broadcasts are long overdue and there is still no sign official F1 video being offered.

The reason for this is probably because Ecclestone got his fingers badly burned dabbling with an interactive, pay per view digital F1 service in the late ’90s/early ’00s that was a bit ahead of its time – certainly as far as the market was concerned.

With digital television now widespread it is surely time for a dedicated F1 channel that can broadcast widescreen, high-definition F1 without advertising at a fixed price.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “F1 will get HD coverage this year”

  1. This was a really interesting read – as Bernie has only just conceded to allowing us the luxury of viewing in widescreen then I wasn’t expecting HD intil 2010 at least!

    Bernie’s initial attempt at a dedicated F1 interactive channel was a little too far ahead of it’s time as you say – people expect F1 to be at the forefront of technology, but he was a little too far ahead this time.

    Now that people are more used to interactive services and choosing camera angles etc from things like Sky’s coverage of the football etc, and also rather peeved at ITV’s advert breaks interrupting the action, then I think a subscription channel would be very well received – depending on price obviously!

    I for one would sign up, just to get away from James Allen!

  2. Bernie did provide w/s over 5 years ago through his F1TV company but very few broadcasters took it. German Premiere and Scandinavian channels used it. It had a multi-screen capability with a live timing channel too. Bernies company used w/s digital cameras when most national broadcasters were still using 4×3 PAL.

    UK Sky went with it for a year and then it folded as it was available FTA in 4×3 so it seems not enough viewers were prepared to pay for a bit of periferal vision.

    If you are at the British GP have a look at the labels on the camera boxes and I don’t think you’ll see ITV or F1TV :-)

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