CBS Sports to more than triple HD coverage of NCAA tournament

CBS Sports will increase its HD coverage of the 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship more than threefold over last year’s level, raising the total to 39 games in 1080i high-definition television.

Additionally, Harris will sponsor the network’s HD coverage of the game for a second consecutive year. Harris will provide CBS Sports with its Flexicoder, a modular MPEG-2 encoding system, and NETplus, an integrated HD 4:2:2 MPEG-2 audio/video receiver and decoder. Flexicoder consists of one HD and six SD encoders.

HD coverage will include 24 games from four of the eight first round sites March 17-20. The four sites will be split with two being Thursday/Saturday sites, while the other two will be Friday/Sunday locations. In 2004, HD games originated from only one first round site.

All 12 Sweet 16 games from the four regional venues in Chicago, Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; and Syracuse, NY will air in HD. In 2004, only one regional site broadcast HD games.

For the sixth consecutive year, CBS Sports will air the two national semi-final games and the National Championship Game in high definition.

The telecasts, which will be presented live by CBS Sports, will be unified productions produced in 1080i and downconverted for the CBS Television Network’s analog broadcast coverage.

This production technique also produces a better quality analog picture. Whether watching in widescreen HD or traditional 4:3 analog, viewers will see the same camera angles, replays and graphics, and will hear the same play by play.

The HD NCAA Basketball Tournament games will be broadcast in 5.1 surround sound.

Last year, CBS Sports produced 12 games in HD. Its coverage of the 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four and Championship games will be broadcast live on April 2 and April 4 from St. Louis.

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