Start-up network converts vintage sports to HDTV

INHD, a new 24-hour high-definition network, and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) have reached an exclusive, multi-year agreement to restore, transfer, convert and broadcast—in HD format—official archival films from more than 16 Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

The agreement marks the first time the USOC—under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Television Archive Bureau (OTAB)—has allowed its official films to be converted to HD. The film archive is considered so valuable that representatives of the IOC and OTAB have escorted the footage from around the world to INHD’s transfer facility in Canada to monitor the process.

The archive dates back to 1948. While many of the films being transferred to HD are the official Olympic films shot and produced by Olympic historian Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions, a significant portion of the library gathered by INHD is one-of-a-kind official films from various individual host-country Olympic archives.

“This is not just sports programming, but truly historical programming that in many cases has rarely, if ever, been seen by U.S. television audiences in any format, not to mention high-definition,” said Rob Jacobson, COO of the INHD.

The films are being converted to HD from the original negatives at Global Vision in Montreal. Reels are being run through an HD telecine, color is corrected, and, in the most time-consuming part of the process, each frame is restored to remove scratches, abrasions and dirt. Converting all the films will take another few months.

INHD is a new 24/7 all-HD television network that features commercial-free movies, professional sports, college sports and general interest programming to HD subscribers. Additionally, the INHD2 channel enables local cable operators to pre-empt scheduled programming to showcase local professional sporting events of interest to their subscribers.

A subsidiary of In Demand Networks, which provides pay-per-view and video-on-demand programming to cable systems, INHD is using the HD Olympic films to provide programming to its 500,000 subscribers. The cost of INHD ranges from $5 to $7 a month, depending on the pay TV outlet.

Shareholders in INHD include Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Entertainment.

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