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1080p HDTV shipments to retailers likely to up ante for sports teleproducers

It’s long been held that sports teleproduction to a large extent will drive sales of HDTV sets.

If so, the ante is being raised for the production personnel, truck vendors and sports networks, with the announcement last week from Texas Instruments “affordable” 1080p DLP-based televisions will reach U.S. retail shelves as early as July.

HD sports production has transitioned from a novelty — done with a discreet HD teleproduction package — to the mainstream where is must seamless co-exist with SD production. That’s raising the stakes for those behind the cameras, switchers and audio boards. In the words of Ken Aagaard, CBS Sports Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering, “Now, there are a lot of people watching (HD), and a lot of influential people watching so there’s a lot more pressure.”

The announcement from Texas Instruments is consistent with numerous industry sales projections that show widespread adoption of HDTV. For those involved with HD sports teleproduction, it means greater HD audience numbers and higher viewer expectations. At present, 1080p is seen as the top of the HD food chain for display. Manufacturers who have announced 1080p DLP TVs include LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung and Toshiba. Mitsubishi has recently introduced five new models featuring 1080p DLP technology, ranging in screen size from 52in to 73in.

According to research firm In-Stat, there are currently 4 million HDTV households in the United States, up from 1.6 million in March 2004.

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