Local Stations - Please Fix Your Hi-Def!

Ten days ago, I had this great plan for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Well, truthfully it wasn’t much different than any Sunday this time of year. Why mess with tradition?
Of course, I’m talking about a day spent watching football. We had the Packers playing the Vikings for the early game, and the Colts versus the Broncos for the late game. I had the Windsor all ready for a quiet, drunk afternoon.
Unlike most football days, though, I did have one other task. The previous day I had surfed my way to the high-def PBS channel, and didn’t move for almost two hours watching part three of The War. I decided I needed that series, and set my DVR to record almost eight hours of it on Sunday.
For awhile, things went as planned. The Vikings actually played pretty well for the first three quarters of the game, and stayed pretty close to the Packers for a good portion of the game.
All hell broke during the last quarter, though, and I’m not just talking about the game. Sure, the Packers increased their lead, and Minnesota made a last-ditch effort that just fell short thanks to a tipped interception. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see all of the action.
With just a few minutes left in the game, thunderstorms made their way into our area. Thankfully, our Fox affiliate doesn’t have a weather department to interrupt their programming, but the great minds at our cable company saw fit to continually interrupt the broadcast to tell us about every single cloud that came within 100 miles of Sioux Falls.
Now there’s nothing worse than a cable television weather alert. After cutting into the programming, they emit a number of high-pitch squeals that are not very good for the hangover. Then an AM-quality computerized voice tells us the new alert before more squeals pierce your ears. The cable box flips around a bit before it finally returns to your original channel.
It’s not just the football game that was affected by the multiple interruptions. My series of The War broadcasts were completely screwed up – the seven part series now number over a dozen cut-up recordings. I just erased them all and bought the DVD when it came out two days later.
The worst was yet to come. Guess what network carried the Colts game? Yes, CBS. And guess what channel is our local CBS affiliate? Yep, my pals. So not only was the cable company screwing with my television watching but now my filibustering weather practitioners.
Time after time the game was cut. Brian Karstens did what he does best(?), over-analyzing every cloud formation. At one point he even showed us pictures of hail sent in by senior citizens with too much time on their hand. One of the best games of the year was almost unwatchable due to a normal early-fall rain.
There’s more, though. You may recall a couple of years ago I complained about how our local channels had refused to spend the cash that allows them to keep the high-def singal while imposing things on the screen. They still haven’t, which makes no sense to me since the station in question appears to use nothing but interns as reporters. Because of this, the Colts game never made it to this century’s technology.
At one point, I started to flip around to see how the other channels were handling the weather. KSFY may have plenty of problems, but their programming continued to be in high-def, with a little logo in the upper left-hand corner to tell us to turn to their analog channel for weather information. This is how it should be done, and my hats off to them. Just please get rid of the constant Breaking News crap they pull during every newscast.
Oh, one more thing before I head out. The programming that KSFY was showing in high-def? Nascar. What a waste of technology.


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