CBS and Thomson's RCA brand have entered into an advertising agreement for Thomson to sponsor high-definition telecasts of the National Football Association's AFC Divisional Playoff games on January 11 and 12 and the AFC Championship game on January 19th. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Produced by CBS with a multi-format serial digital production truck supplied by SWTV in Texas, the three live digital HDTV telecasts will be simulcast with the analog broadcasts and will include commentary and analysis from the same broadcast teams as the analog audience.
As with all of CBS Sports' past HD productions, the games will be broadcast in the 1080i HD format that includes the widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio. Along with a national TV audience, the HD games will be broadcast on the show floor in Las Vegas, Nev., on January 11 during the International Consumer Electronics Show.
CBS said 83 of its owned and affiliated stations are broadcasting in digital, covering approximately 72 percent of the nation. By kick-off, it expects to transmit digital programming across more than 100 owned and affiliated stations, reaching more than 83 percent of the country. However, not all of the stations have the equipment necessary to pass through a digital HDTV signal to their viewers. In addition, viewers must have a digital TV set and a HDTV decoder to watch the games.
RCA also sponsored this year's sign-on to sign-off HD coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships on CBS; the fourth year the network has offered the Open in HD.