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Dishing out high def

Steamboat options limited for Super Bowl with more clarity

Dale Johnson, owner of Yampa Valley Sound Company in Steamboat, discusses different options for high-definition TVs and what channels are broadcast using a HDTV signal in the Steamboat area.
Matt Stensland

— Steamboat Springs residents hoping to see Peyton Manning spirals or Brian Urlacher hits in high definition this weekend will need a satellite dish.

That’s because in Northwest Colorado, Sunday’s Super Bowl game will be available in high definition only on DirecTV or Dish Network, not on Comcast.

The cable television company does not carry the major TV network channels in high definition, at least not locally.



Jon Prather, technical supervisor for Comcast’s Steamboat office, said Comcast hopes to increase the number of high-definition channels offered in the area, but he doesn’t know when that might occur.

Prather said the volume of phone calls Comcast receives regarding its high-definition options indicates the demand is rising.



“Some people have four or five high-def televisions,” Prather said.

Dale Johnson, owner of Yampa Valley Sound Company, said he sells an estimated 40 high-definition TVs each month.

The increased number of lines of resolution on a high-definition TV make it more expensive – and the clarity of the picture much higher when hooked up to high-definition broadcasts. Most high-def TVs have 1,080 lines of resolution. By comparison, DVD movies typically support up to only 525 lines of resolution, and standard cable supports up to 300 lines of resolution.

Steamboat Springs Comcast customers must have digital cable in order to receive the high-definition channels offered by the cable carrier. The channels currently available in high def include ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, Discovery Channel, a variety programming channel called INHD, a music channel called MHD and premium movie channels such as HBO.

Prather said the reason those channels are available in this area is because Comcast receives those channels via satellite instead of ground lines.

More high-definition channels are offered on DirecTV or Dish Network because those systems rely exclusively on satellites.


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