New York, - NBC, in association with HDNet, will broadcast selected events at the upcoming 2002 Olympic Winter Games from Salt Lake City in high definition, said Gary Zenkel, Executive Vice President, NBC Olympics.
"NBC's high definition Olympic broadcasts from Salt Lake will deliver the world's premier television event to NBC affiliate stations' digital television homes using the world's premier television technology," Zenkel said. "We are pleased to be able to tap into the experience HDNet has in covering sporting events in high definition." The NBC HDTV Olympic programming will also be available on HDNet's Channel 199 on DIRECTV.
The HDTV broadcasts will be offered as a separate and distinct feed from NBC's standard definition broadcasts of the Games on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC. The HDTV broadcasts will air portions of the previous day's competition and will be available to the growing list of 32 NBC DTV affiliate stations which currently cover more than 42 percent of the country.
Jack Sander, Executive Vice President, Media Operations, Belo Corp. and Chairman, NBC Affiliate Board, said, "We support and applaud NBC for this innovative effort. NBC has worked with the affiliate board all the way and we appreciate the involvement. We believe this allows for the growth of high definition television while protecting the core Olympics, NBC and local stations throughout the country. Since these telecasts can be seen on all local digital channels, and local stations will have sales inventory to sell, we are full partners in this effort."
Mark Cuban, Co-founder and Chairman of HDNet, said: "For the first time ever in the United States, NBC and HDNet will provide audiences an Olympics viewing experience that only the incredible picture quality and widescreen capabilities of HDTV can deliver -- it's like being there.
"Anyone who doesn't have an HDTV and HD receiver should add those items to their holiday wish lists, because the homes with HDTVs will be the most popular houses on the block during the Olympics."
HDNet, the leader in high definition broadcasting, produces and televises more hours of HDTV programming each week than any other network. Available on DIRECTV channel 199, HDNet's programming lineup includes National Hockey League and Major League Baseball games, as well as a variety of other sporting events, concerts, movies, documentaries and specials. Co-founded by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, HDNet has produced and broadcast an unprecedented number of live HDTV sports and entertainment events from its special HD mobile production trucks.
The high definition Olympic broadcasts will air daily from 3-11 p.m. ET and will be replayed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. ET and again from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. The broadcasts will feature the Opening and Closing Ceremonies from Rice-Eccles Stadium, figure skating and short track speed skating from the Salt Lake Ice Center, speed skating from the Utah Olympic Oval, ski jumping from Utah Olympic Park and hockey from the E Center. The high definition format will be 1080i with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio.
NBC is only the second Olympics rights holder worldwide to provide viewers high definition broadcasts. NHK, Japan's Olympic broadcast rights holder, first aired high definition broadcasts from selected venues at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
In addition to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, NBC currently provides HDTV broadcasts of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" five nights a week, "Crossing Jordan" Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT as well as other sporting events and specials. "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" was the first regularly scheduled television series to be broadcast in HDTV.
The 2002 Olympic Winter Games from Salt Lake City will be held February 8-24 and will be the first Winter Olympics in the United States since the 1980 Lake Placid Games, 22 years ago. The Salt Lake Olympics are the second Games in an unprecedented five consecutive Olympics to which NBC owns the U.S. broadcast rights. The five consecutive Olympic Games are the 2000 Summer Games from Sydney, the 2002 Winter Games from Salt Lake City, the 2004 Summer Games from Athens, the 2006 Winter Games from Torino, Italy and the 2008 Summer Games from Beijing. "The Complete Olympics" from Salt Lake City will be available exclusively on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC and online at NBCOlympics.com.
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