535 Days and counting – some interesting comments from a concerned digital television viewer…

August 30, 2007

With Titan syndicated on nearly 1,100 local television station websites I get lots of interesting emails. For example, last night someone asked me to bring back Wonder Years. Sure, why not? I like the show. The only problem is I really don’t have anything to do with what a station airs.

Another email I got last night came from a Titan user named Robert Lucas. I am going to paste the email below and let his comments speak for themselves:

This is really a comment for your “539 Days” post on your blog, but it’s a bit large, so I’m sending it to you as an e-mail.

Here’s a big problem for you Titan folks, and it comes from your prospective clients, the local TV stations around the country.

Why is it that the local stations treat digital TV as the poor stepchild in the studio building?

Here are some examples, all local to my home TV market (Philadelphia, PA):

1) Even though WPVI started airing Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune in HD as soon as the shows were available in HD, they never plugged that fact in their promotional material for both shows, not even on their website. In fact, they did not tell Titan to list them as available in HD until months after the debut of the HD broadcasts.

2) WPHL has just started to broadcast a new digital station, 17.3, which shows the World Championship Sports Network. There is no on-air promotion of this (as far as I know) and not even a mention of this on their website. They also have The Tube music video channel broadcasting on 17.2, and have had it for some time. However, except for a small blurb on their website, they have had no promotion whatsoever.

As you can see, HD broadcasting and the digital side channels are the ignored and forgotten. You would think that the stations would promote not only their digital channels and HD content (like the local news and the heightened experience of watching network shows in HD), but also demonstrate to people considering an HD set that one can access all this great HD content (and digital SD content) with an antenna without having to upgrade to digital cable or FiOS. But we get nothing, except WPVI briefly mentioning within their Action News promos that they were the first HD local news in Philly (and that small mention comes after spending a lot of money to remodel the news set for HD!).

Funny enough, the PBS station here, WHYY, is the only one promoting their digital broadcasting, and they by definition don’t make a dime on it.Why do I, who have nothing to do with the TV industry, care about this stuff? Because the sooner digital TV becomes commonplace, the sooner everything will be filmed and transmitted in true HD, and I won’t have to watch so many shows in 4:3 SD mode anymore! The local stations are being dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. If Titan wants to serve these skittish clients (and make money from them), it better help them realize the blockbuster potential of digital TV and encourage them to promote it a bit.