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Scott D. Pierce: Since The mtn. will be in HD, now what?

Published: Friday, April 2 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

What are we going to complain about now that The mtn. has announced that all of its football telecasts this fall will be in high definition?

Well, I'm sure we'll find something. Lots of things. Because that's what we, the sports fans of America, do.

And, over the past five years, The mtn. has given us plenty of ammunition.

But the most significant piece of news to come out of the Mountain West Conference's announcement of its fall football TV schedule was confirmation that the games on The mtn. — all 30 of them — will be in HD.

Hurrah!

Over the past couple of years, the lack of HD has been the single most frequent complaint that's crossed my desk. If you don't have a wide screen, high-def television yet, it's hard to imagine what a huge difference HD makes to a telecast.

Switching from HD games on, say, ESPN or the Big Ten Network to a standard definition game on The mtn. was like trying to watch a game through the dust storm that muddied the air in the Salt Lake area earlier this week. From a couple of miles away.

High definition telecasts have been high on the list of priorities for the The mtn. In 2009, all the football games the channel telecast in November were in HD. This season, so will all the games in September and October, too.

This is a huge step forward. At the same time, it's sort of the minimum we ought to expect out of a sport channel.

And now that The mtn. has met that minimum standard, there are lots of other things that could use improvement.

I'm sure we'll be complaining about them soon ...

THE MOST OBVIOUS IMPROVEMENT The mtn. could make now is to its on-air personnel. I've criticized the channel in this area before and I'm sure I'll do it again.

And, judging by the e-mails, I won't be alone.

But if the picture is good — a nice HD signal — maybe it will be easier to overlook what's being said.

Maybe.

CALL YOUR CABLE PROVIDER if you don't get The mtn. in HD this fall.

You might want to call them before football season starts.

Not all cable companies who carry The mtn. will pick up the high def feed. And, while the folks at The mtn. urge them to do so — obviously — it's up to each cable provider.

DIRECTV DOES HAVE HD for The mtn. — Channel 616-1 will be in operation for all of the HD games.

Now that the satellite provider has (finally) resolved its dispute with Versus, DirecTV once again carries all the channels that will carry Utah and BYU football games this fall — Versus, The mtn., and CBS College Sports, as well as away games on ESPN, ESPN2 and NBC.

As for Dish Network, there's still no news on that satellite provider adding The mtn. And no news is bad news.

e-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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