Tag Archives: HD

Ecclestone snubs HD until 2012: “More interest needed”

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed the idea of HD broadcasting in Formula 1 in the near future, saying that more interest is needed and more broadcasters must be available for it first. This is despite the recent FOTA survey saying that increasing amounts of F1 fans want the sport available in HD.

At the moment, Bernie believes that the cameras and equipment are up to the job of filming Formula 1 in HD, which was shown by the announcement that F1 was to be filmed in HD this year. However, he also argues that not enough broadcasters are currently available to show it, and many F1 fans wouldn’t be able to watch it in HD at the moment. He said:

"We don't want to broadcast unless people want it. I asked in 
England, the BBC, about it - how many people can receive it? They 
said about 20 per cent of the viewers who watch F1.

Then I want to make sure that what we produce is top quality. Before 
we start seeing the top-top quality that we want, I would say it will 
probably be 2012 before we can guarantee it.

I said to the broadcasters, are you going to get more viewers, will 
more people watch F1 because it is HD or will less people watch it 
because it isn't? They really need to have a check and see who has 
got the right televisions.

I don't think the average public realise that it is not the 
television, they have to have something to receive it as well. It 
is like producing a colour signal when people only have 
black-and-white sets."

You know what? Bernie is making quite a bit of sense here. First of all, I feel that only the BBC would take up the opportunity to broadcast Formula 1 in HD at this time, as the other channels wouldn’t have the capabilities for it. This wouldn’t be viable for the cost of bringing in HD in the first place.

Secondly, many people who watch the BBC coverage don’t have HD televisions, as Bernie said. If only 20% of viewers would watch F1 in HD, then there is little to no point in broadcasting in HD – not for the moment anyway. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to watch F1 in HD, even if it was made available.

The advantages for HD, at the moment, aren’t enough to convince Ecclestone to switch, and the notion of 3D is well off as well. When questioned about this future technlogy, Bernie stated: “So many people are saying the future is 3D. It is not 3D at all. It is one-and-a-half D.”

F1 to be filmed in HD

The BBC has confirmed that the F1 2010 championship will be filmed in HD this year.

But, before you get too excited, this HD feed is not being made available to broadcasters until at least 2011. The BBC’s head of HD, Danielle Nagler, wrote on her blog:

The events are being filmed in HD (as far as we know) but they are
not made available by F1 to broadcasters in HD.

Lee McKenzie, part of the BBC F1 team, has previously said that F1 broadcasters will be offered the chance to show F1 in HD from 2011 onwards, but it is unsure who will take up the offer. Let’s be honest though, the BBC will definitely be one of the first to sign up.

Still though, it seems like a waste of time filming it in HD and not broadcasting it. Maybe FOM wants to get experience first, then broadcast it when they’re ready. Hopefully the end-of-year review will have HD clips instead.

Meanwhile, this year’s NASCAR championship will be the 6th year of being broadcast in HD. F1 is well behind.