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Cuban: HD Viewers Getting Raw Deal

Mark Cuban, founder and head honcho of HDNet, is saying out loud what some bewildered HD viewers (and many not-so-bewildered broadcast engineers) have also observed: A lot of HD content isn’t as good as it could be when it reaches the home.

Speaking at the recent DisplaySearch HDTV Conference in Beverly Hills, (which HDNet had planned to air later), Cuban said HD quality is being wasted because too many providers are over-compressing the video.

Cuban said most HD content is needlessly compressed technically, thereby under-utilizing the true capabilities of HD sets to display 1080i (Cuban’s preferred format) and 720p, according The Denver Post. (HDNet is based in Denver).

"It's all really depressed derivatives of what we really could see," he told his hometown paper. Cable and DBS are routinely compressing HD video so they can fit more content into their spectrum and, thus send more programming over their networks. Consequently, HD video and audio quality are being sacrificed, Cuban contends.

Cuban wants the TV industry to start speaking up about the problem, and urged manufacturers to start demanding that program providers routinely offer consumers the highest possible quality HD product.

If nothing is done, he said, it will mean all the work that producers put into HD productions will be worthless. Cuban also said manufacturers need to have more control over how HD content is displayed in retail outlets. Too often, he said, so-called HD store demos leave a lot to be desired in the quality department.