Getting The mtn. on DirecTV may be the greatest thing that has ever happened to the Mountain West Conference.

It's certainly right up there with going 6-1 against the Pac 10 this football season.

It's still not like being on ESPN or Fox Sports Net. The league still suffers in terms of exposure.

But fans of MWC teams have access to the channel now, which many didn't until The mtn. got onto the DirecTV lineup.

Complaints about the the channel have fallen off considerably. Massively, as a matter of fact.

I can tell you I was getting e-mails about The mtn. pretty much every day during the past couple of football seasons. Now I get the occasional question. Well, pretty much the same three questions:

Question: When will The mtn. be added to the Dish Network?

Answer: Your guess is as good as mine.

I'm not trying to be flip with that reply. I really don't know. If anybody does know, they aren't talking. Except to say that the two sides are still talking.

I still think it will eventually happen. But, given the way things have gone over the past few years, it would be foolish to make any kind of guess about when.

Question: When will The mtn. be telecast in high definition?

Answer: Not anytime soon. Maybe next fall. Maybe not.

Quite honestly, this is one of those things I didn't get until I got an HD television. And perhaps the greatest thing about having a widescreen HDTV set is watching sports.

Not only do you get a better picture, but you get to see more of the field. It's fantastic.

And when you don't have a high def signal, it's like being accustomed to seeing games in color and then having to watch them in black and white. It's that much of a difference.

Like most viewers, I switch back and forth between games on different channels. And it's difficult not to be disgusted by the picture I'm getting on The mtn. if I'm flipping to an HD picture on ESPN, ABC or CBS.

As mentioned here before, the standard-definition signal from The mtn. actually looks better on an SD set than it does on an HD set. But how many people who have HD sets have a decent SD set sitting next to it?

And why should they have to?

Question: When will they get some decent announcers/studio show hosts on The mtn.?

Answer: When they get enough money to hire some. And that's not going to be anytime soon.

I'm reluctant to criticize the on-air talent at The mtn., just because I'm still feeling grateful that the channel is now available to just about every fan who wants to get it. If they're willing to subscribe to DirecTV and pay whatever they have to (depending on where they live) to get The mtn.

That can't be underestimated. And if Utah and BYU fans living here in the Beehive State don't know what a big deal that is, talk to Cougar and Ute fans in New York, Ohio or Alabama.

No, we don't have top talent on The mtn. The studio show looks like it operates on a $1.98 budget. And, again, the contrast with what we see flipping channels to ESPN, ABC, CBS or the Big Ten Network is disheartening.

But we get to see the games. And that's the big thing.

Now, if only we could see them in HD ...