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FOX Sports to offer NFL, NASCAR, MLB coverage in HDTV

FOX Sports will present much of its exclusive live-event programming in 720p high definition, beginning in the third quarter of this year, according to FOX Sports Television chairman David Hill.

A complete schedule of events, which FOX Sports will televise in high definition, will be announced shortly once all necessary equipment procurement is finalized.

“Given the high-profile events that FOX Sports broadcasts later this year and beyond, the timing is perfect for us to begin our transition to the gold standard of high-definition television,” said Hill.

“We were very pleased with FOX WIDESCREEN, but after extensive research and testing, it became clear that we wanted our viewers to have access to the sharpest sports images in the world, and without question, the 720p format produces those images.” (FOX WIDESCREEN refers to the 16:9 480p feed the network currently passes to affiliates.)

Between July 2004 and February 2005, FOX Sports will televise several major sporting events, including NASCAR’s Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway, Major League Baseball’s 75th Anniversary All-Star Game from Houston, playoffs and World Series; regular- and post-season National Football League coverage, including Super Bowl XXXIX from Jacksonville, and the Daytona 500.

The 720p (progressive) format takes 60 razor sharp, complete pictures per-second while 1080i (interlaced) takes 60 half pictures per-second. While 1080i has more lines of resolution when portraying still images, in FOX’ view, 720p provides greater picture quality for sports because it takes more pictures per second, and has more lines of resolution when portraying moving images.

“The common misperception in our industry is that 1080i is the better high-definition system because it provides more lines or resolution,” said Hill. “However, I am truly convinced that 720p is the far superior format and our viewers are going to love all three of our sports and their signature events broadcast in this system.”

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