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U.S. Military: AFN Eyes HD… Way Down the Road

Tens of thousands of American military and civilian personnel rely on American Forces Network for their TV and radio programming in some of the most exotic corners of the world, such as Iraq and Okinawa, but that doesn’t rule out the inevitable (if painstakingly slow) slide into HD. But for now, much of AFN’s current analog TV, technically speaking, is nothing to write home about.

According to the Stars and Stripes, AFN does not plan to convert its broadcasts to anything resembling HD until sometime in the next decade (perhaps 2013 for the Pacific Rim, and 2014 for Europe).

Currently, AFN’s digital compression system “packs 10 channels into a slither of satellite broadband,” says the newspaper. “So for the meantime, watching AFN on a fancy new television set is like driving a Ferrari around post at 30 MPH.”

One Army staff sergeant interviewed at a Post Exchange in Germany said he had no plans to buy a new HD set anytime soon, as least as long as he’s relying on AFN’s current, compressed analog signals. And apparently to prove it, he just went out and paid $100 for an old 36-inch analog set at the post thrift shop.