From Multichannel News:
High-definition programming may seem to be everywhere, but most of it is on HDTV channels that are simply simulcasts of standard-definition services.
Of the 40 to 140 HD channels available from larger pay TV providers, only a handful are HD-only linear channels. Being one of those few pure-play high-definition networks is something of a mixed blessing.
“For a new network, there is clearly an advantage in coming into the market as an all HD-network,” said Smithsonian Networks general manager Tom Hayden. “I’m not sure we would have gotten as much traction if we had come into the market as a standard-definition, ad-supported network.”
But HD-only channels face some challenges. Last month, Time Warner Cable said it was dropping HDNet and HDNet Movies across all of its systems. Similarly, Dish Network bounced Smithsonian Channel at the end of 2008 — though Hayden said “we are in active discussions with them and we anticipate being back on [Dish] by the end of the year.”
Last December, the HD-only ranks grew even thinner when Rainbow Media Holdings said it was shutting down the domestic operations of its Voom HD suite of 15 networks. Rainbow cited the loss of carriage on Dish as a major factor in its decision.
This is a little bit of a sore spot for me because I want everything I watch on my actually TV to be in high-definition (I don’t care when I watch on Hulu on a smaller computer monitor) and while almost everything I watch is always broadcast there are still a lot of times even when I am watching the HD channel on the HDTV where the content itself is not being broadcast in HD.
This isn’t a problem for me for ESPN shows like Around the Horn or Pardon The Interruption that are only shot in standard definition. I probably don’t want to see Kornheiser in HD anyway, although having seen Wilbon on the ABC/ESPN basketball coverage he’s definitely HD ready! But sometimes, even in 2009, I will tune in a San Francisco Giants game that is broadcast in standard definition. That’s really annoying.
I could go on, and on, with my kvetching, but I’ll spare you the walls of text. At least for now.