Canada: Canuck Fans Hoping for Some HD

Rogers Sportsnet cable has a deal with the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League and to air nearly a hundred games in HD over the next four seasons. Now all the cable company has to do is figure out exactly how to accomplish that goal, according to

RSN, a regional network serving British Columbia, admits it’s facing several mostly technical challenges in getting that many games on-air in HD starting this year. Because its only HD channel is national, RSN has been unable to broadcast any of its NHL packages regionally and now must figure out a way to use the national channel for local coverage without having to block out the rest of Canada.

But now Doug Beeforth, the chief exec at RSN, says he may have found a suitable answer, at least in the short term.

“At this point I would prefer, for competitive reasons, not to say. But we’re fairly confident we have a technological solution to that problem that’s workable,” Beeforth said. “Will it be workable by next week? I’m not sure. But certainly by the second year of this deal it will be in place.”

The situation will only be a temporary problem anyway. RSN plans to have four regional HD sports channels running by perhaps 2010 (Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Pacific).

Also, a shortage of HD production trucks in Canada, which RSN leases, will be another short-term problem.