Olympics: NYT ponders elusive MSNBC HD for Hockey Fans

MSNBC HD first became available to cablers and DBS firms last summer.
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Good news and bad news regarding hockey, the Olympics, and HD…

It's hardly NBC Universal's fault that its HD feed of its MSNBC cable outlet is still lacking in a lot of cablers' HD tiers these days — although MSNBC HD first became available to cablers and DBS firms last summer.

The good news is that American hockey fans had something to cheer about this week (and to see) when Team USA upset Canada, 5-3, for it biggest Olympics win in three decades. The bad news is that a lot of HD subscribers were limited to watching the game in SD (except for when NBC's broadcast network picked it up in HD for its larger prime-time audience with only 16 seconds remaining).

Any lack of MSNBC HD coverage was particularly unfortunate since both the National Hockey League and HD proponents often cite hockey as one sport that is noticeably enhanced by HD coverage; viewers can now often see the puck traveling from stick-to-stick-to-goal in real time. (Try doing that with SD images.)

Yet as the New York Times notes this week in a sports blog, "Those who love how hockey looks in high definition might be concerned that only 16 million of MSNBC's 92.4 million homes have HD; 26 million of CNBC's 97 million homes have it, and 34 million of USA's 98 million homes have it. The universe of NBC homes with HD could be as high as 50 million."

Team USA's next game is set for today (Feb. 24) versus Switzerland and likely will be carried live on the NBC broadcast network this afternoon. Yes, we said broadcast… and in HD.