In Briefs Olympics In Review: 2/22-2/23

JESSICA BADER: So, what are everyone’s thoughts about NBC devoting the prime-time coverage last night to ice-dancing and skiing and putting the US-Canada men’s hockey game on MSNBC? I feel like the people who are mad about this are overreacting – anyone with cable who wanted to watch the hockey had that option, and nobody really watches the NHL games featuring most of those players.

CHRIS NEEDHAM: The big issue is the lack of HD. Hockey, more than any other sport, is improved by HD. And most people don’t have MSNBC in HD, because who really wants to see a clearer picture of Keith Olbermann?

In terms of viewing in HD, I agree 10000000% with Chris. I know that most HDTV ads feature football, but personally, I don’t think any sport looks crisper, cleaner and more true to the in-arena experience than hockey. All the other sports look great, but if you’ve ever sat in the lower bowl of a NHL or college game, HD is damn near close to being there. There are a plethora of reasons for that (smaller playing surface means closer camera focus, glaring white ice and painted lines with the darker backdrop of the seating bowl, etc.), but to speak to this issue, I didn’t realize that there was such a problem with availability.

JESSICA BADER: I have to say that I’m surprised that some areas don’t get certain channels in HD even when an HD version of that channel exists. I also saw an argument (I forget where) that putting the hockey game on MSNBC rather than NBC was the right call because it was shown live in all time zones, and that would not have been possible if they put it on the big network (where everything is tape-delayed for primetime airing).

On a different note, why is ski-jumping a men-only event?

CHRIS NEEDHAM: That’s related to a rant I have about HD football. I can’t wait until they do separate HD/SD broadcasts. It drives me crazy when they center the action on the QB in a pass drop-back, wasting a good 10-15 yards of view behind the line of scrimmage. On an HD broadcast, they should shift the camera so the QB is on one end, allowing you to see more stuff downfield.

ZOË RICE: This “Worst of” Olympics uniforms is pretty great.

JASON CLINKSCALES: Jessica, I caught that as well. I wonder though (and I need to reach out to folks in the know or close to it) if MSNBC actually lobbies to show certain games as opposed to just being a dump-off channel for NBC. Maybe, maybe not, but not every detail of these decisions are fully explained to the viewing public.

I had a convo of this sort late night on Twitter as someone asked how would other nets have handled it. Just playing devil’s advocate here, but in terms of demographics (and psychographics), hockey might be considered closer to MSNBC’s core viewership than the general nature of NBC.

I think this post from Puck Daddy grazed upon it a bit.

HOWARD MEGDAL: In general, I wonder why CNN is in HD, but MSNBC isn’t.

JASON CLINKSCALES: I don’t want any of the news networks in HD, SD, 3D, triple D, whatever other Ds there are.

No, but in all seriousness, I think that comes down to battles between the carriers and the networks rather than some internal issue within the company. With the exception of Nickelodeon, all of the major Viacom channels just broadcasted their HD streams to Time Warner Cable customers in the last three weeks. Better late than never, right?

And in general, people talk up HD as if everyone has an HDTV set at home, which is far from the case. HD Penetration through the cable infrastructure is very high, but availability and usage across the country is still much smaller than standard.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Has anyone noticed that NBC is letting you stream the live Olympics online IF you have a cable provider. NBC, I don’t have a cable provider. I have a government cable box and I get 1 of your 3 channels that is showing the Olympics, and the boring one at that. THAT’S why I want to stream the Olympics on my computer, you schmucks. Thanks for nothing!

HOWARD MEGDAL: There’s currently a huge uproar in the soccer-watching community. There’s a Fox Soccer Channel, now in HD, but the DirecTV feed is still SD. Yet there’s a box in the upper corner saying HD. And Dish has it in HD. It’s driving everyone a little bit insane.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I’m imagining the soccer-watching community as a bunch of people standing around wearing shorts and having incredibly defined calves.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Afraid, as a member of that community, that it isn’t so. See personal trainer discussion for reasons why.

AKIE BERMISS: Any body watching the Mens Aerials? Its a qualifier tonight. But great flips so far. I’m excited.

EMILY SAIDEL: Ice Dancing (in the background) for me.

AKIE BERMISS: The ice-dancing is heating up. The americans were superb though. Wow.

JESSICA BADER: The Russians are using ropes on their costumes to help with the lifts? That can’t be fair!

EMILY SAIDEL: They’re the second pair to use part of Requiem for a Dream. Is that the go to “creepy” music?

AKIE BERMISS: Wow. Yeah, maybe its just residual from last night, but were the Russians really good enough for third. They were so tentative. And hardly ever stopped holding hands. Meh!
It was a nice ceremony, though.

ZOË RICE: Argh, this guy is such a sore loser! Plushenko, give it up! He is now calling his silver the “Platinum” medal, as in better than gold.

Dude, did you do the hardest jump in the competition? Yes you did, congratulations. You also looked like crap for much of the rest of the competition. Your other jumps were problematic, landed but not executed well. Your footwork was not as difficult as Evan’s, and all your difficulty was front loaded in the easier portion of the program leaving you with about a minute to toodleoo on the ice at the end, when Evan Lysacek was landing a triple axel combination late in the program that was worth almost as many points as your quad.

Evgeni, you lost fair and square.

I think Lysacek’s response pretty much says it all. paraphrasing: if it were a jumping contest, there’d be no music or anything. They’d give you ten seconds and you’d try to do your best jump.”

oh Plushenko… i actually wanted him to win (would have liked to see double golds back to back) and his short routine was pretty impressive. but i mean, his freeskate had a lot of wobbles landingwise that probably would’ve been gold material is Lysacek hadn’t been just awesome in his routine. i don’t really care about the quad… even coming out of it was a bit shakey. and then the rest of Plushenko’s jumps were exciting for the reason that they were way of axis and he managed to stick them, nonetheless. but his routine over all? silver medal material. truthfully.

ZOË RICE: Canadian skater whose mom died made me cry. That was no ordinary “he loves his disabled brother” sob story. She held it together and did her thing and didn’t hide her own pain and that was totally moving.

EMILY SAIDEL: I thought she looks pretty young, but the announcers said she was 17 and graduating from high school. I think high school just looks a lot younger than I expect it too. The limited body fat of these skaters probably doesn’t help that.

I find the costuming of the women really interesting because the ice dancers, who can be older, can wear longer skirts, but the figure skaters, arguably the more athletic event, wear very short skirts due to the air work they do.

ZOË RICE: Rachael the American skater looks very young, and she was all in pink, and with a curly ponytail. Why do I feel like child predators everywhere just got really into the Olympics? But good for her.

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