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World Cup: HD Viewers miss Lone English Goal vs. USA


Viewers of ITV's HD feed of that England-USA soccer match last weekend from South Africa got to see the one that got away… the errant goal that Team USA scored when it rolled out of the hands of England's goalkeeper. But they missed the only goal that Team England on purpose scored early in the match to take a 1-0 lead.

The culprit: an erroneously inserted commercial ("advert") at precisely the wrong time. And as luck would have it, the same error did not occur on the SD feed of the match — perhaps recording one of the few instances where it would have been better to forego HD in favor of SD (at least for those few seconds).

Later, ITV blamed "human error" for what at first appeared to be a random computer-timing problem from a French supplier, Technicolor, after an estimated 1.5 million U.K. viewers missed out on the only England goal of the match — not to mention its first of the World Cup itself.

As England swarmed in for its scoring surge, suddenly ITV's HD feed cut to a car commercial (for future Trivial Pursuit players, the company was Hyundai) and then a blank screen popped up for several seconds.

The Daily Mirror reported the error was prompted by a human operator hitting a simple switch at exactly the wrong time — adversely affecting 20 seconds out of more than 5,800 seconds played in the match — far afield of the African continent in Technicolor's London studios.

The Mirror said at least several hundred fans have complained to Britain's Ofcom office, the U.K. equivalent of America's FCC. An investigation continues.