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ESPN Accepting Spots for HD/SD Simulcasts

Ten years ago, it would have seemed like an April Fool's Day joke, but ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD are now accepting commercial spots in HD formats--produced to air simultaneously on ESPN's HD and SD channels. Starting on April 1, ESPN said it will allow an advertiser to produce a single commercial for HD (16:9) and SD (4:3).

Accordingly, each commercial must be produced to allow for a "center cut" or "sweet spot" to accommodate both aspect ratios, in order to air concurrently on ESPN and ESPN HD (or ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD). The simulcast option will be available on the ESPN channels on a 24/7 basis, the company said.

The HD/SD spots will be fed through the ESPN Digital Center, which was built in 2004. Promotional spots recently aired using the new system were produced for Capital One Bowl Week, the Chic-Fil-A (formerly Peach) Bowl, and the Alamo Bowl.