Super Bowl in HD: Just How Super Was It?

The Super Bowl. No program has promoted the HD cause more than Super Bowl XL. Of course it was the most-watched HD program. Next year, Super Bowl XLI will have even more HD viewers, and the year after even more. You get the picture (hopefully in HD).

I’ve grown tired of the HD hype. HD should be the norm (and a special event like the Super Bowl isn’t the norm for anything). The real news—and what all the trade magazines should be covering—is what’s not in HD. We should be taking to task those not in HD. With that being said...

For Super Bowl XL, I present my list of commercials—not the best, but you know, the ones that cost $2.5 million or so to air where there was no forethought to the spot airing in HD during the biggest HD event of the year (or at least the biggest HD event to date, since the Olympics started the Friday after the Super Bowl).

A special note to PepsiCo, who’s two Diet Pepsi and one Sierra Mist commercials were in SD: it’s time for a new ad agency. Wake up and smell the caffeine.

As part of this listing, I’ve made every attempt to not count locally inserted SD upconverted ads, but I have counted network promos since to viewers they’re just like a commercial. Strangely, some of these products/services also had HD ads that ran.

PREGAME (9 HD spots=90%/1 SD spot=10%)

  • Lays

KICKOFF SHOW (6 HD spots=100%)

SUPER BOWL XL—FRIST HALF (27 HD spots=68%/13 SD spots=32%)

  • Sierra Mist
  • Sprint (x2)
  • Diet Pepsi (x2)
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live promo
  • Good Morning America promo
  • Dancing with the Stars promo
  • Mobile ESPN (this might have been a local station switching error)
  • NFL/United Way
  • Walt Disney World

HALFTIME SHOW (8 HD spots=89%/1 SD spot=11%)

  • NFL Network

SUPER BOWL XL—SECOND HALF (22 HD spots=47%/25 SD spots=53%)

  • Motorola
  • Nationwide
  • NFL copyright notice
  • Hummer (x2)
  • PS
  • Taco Bell
  • Slim-Fast
  • Toyota
  • Degree
  • Emerald Nuts
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Boston Legal promo
  • MasterCard
  • Dancing with the Stars promo
  • Honda
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live promo
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Westin Resorts
  • Blockbuster
  • TGI Friday’s
  • Allstate

POST-GAME SHOW (5 HD spots=50%/5 SD spots=50%)

  • Taco Bell
  • NFL Shop
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live promo
  • Claritin-D
  • Outback Steakhouse

Michael Silbergleid is the editor and associate publisher of Television Broadcast. He can be reached at