F1 in HD “not until 2011”

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The 2010 F1 season opener will not be in high definition
The 2010 F1 season opener will not be in high definition

Hoping to watch the 2010 F1 season in high definition? Afraid you’re set for another disappointment.

BBC’s Lee McKenzie has said on Twitter that FOM will not be offering Formula 1 in HD to broadcasters until 2011.

Many other forms of motor racing have been broadcast in high def for years. This year will be the sixth season NASCAR has been broadcast in HD.

While F1 dawdles about catching up with HD technology, football is pressing ahead with the introduction of 3D broadcasts, starting with this year’s World Cup.

F1 broadcasting

81 comments on “F1 in HD “not until 2011””

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  1. Better late than never, I guess. I bought a new Panasonic Freesat TV earlier this year to go with my new house, so All will be fine and dandy come 2011.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys
    7th January 2010, 23:44

    I actually prefer not having HD beause I don’t have an HD television. When Abu Dhabi was broadcast in HD format last year, half the screen was cut off.

    1. At least it still gives you a year to save up for one. Not that a decent HD TV costs massive amounts of monies any more.

      1. A HD tv is cheap… its acquiring the HD signal that is expensive.

        1. Get a Panasonic or LG TV with Freesat built in, a dish, and some cabels. ‘Tiz the cheapest way.

  3. Keith, you miss on the most ironic part of the F1/HD not happening. It’s there :


    If you do manage to make enough noise publicaly around this, maybe that would force LG to actually do something more than add their logo and make adverts. Facebook group to start with, anyone ?

  4. Formula 1 is one of the most popular sport in the world,but it’s not offering HD.It shows how far back we are.

  5. I really don’t understand what Bonkers Bernie’s problem is with going HDTV. Pretty much every country that hosts a F1 race has gone HDTV with its domestic outside broadcast facilities infrastructure, so if FOM were not so insistent on increasingly trying to produce the coverage themselves (for the 2009 season, only the Monaco and Japanese Grand Prix were not produced by FOM), FOM would be able to contract the coverage to a local OB company with end-to-end HDTV kit. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_broadcasters )

    However, for some strange reason, Bernie has increasingly been shutting the door on this and bringing the whole production in-house. How inefficient must that be!! Shipping cameras, OB facility trucks and 70+ personnel around the world, only to output a mere eight hours of F1 coverage just 17/18 times a year (plus a bit of GP2 coverage). With such a low utilization of his own facilities, no wonder he finds it hard to justify the investment in HDTV kit!

    The IRB or FIFA don’t have their own facilities for rugby or soccer, and both televise far more hours of their respective sports. Memo to Bernie: Save some money and contract out the facilities part of the TV production to the local host broadcaster who can deliver an HDTV feed.

    Oh, and in case you thought the 2011 date for HDTV had some legitimacy, think again. I just came across this written by a FOC employee: “I have recently returned from Las Vegas where I attended the NAB exhibition. The object of the visit was to assess new broadcasting technologies with a view to FOM’s move into HD production.” Yippee!!

    But not so fast – he wrote this in June 2003……. (See http://www.trevor-turner.co.uk/CVResume.htm ). Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    Yet more reasons (as if we did not have enough already) for Bernie to go.

    1. One advantage resulting from FOM producing the majority of the races is that the coverage is consistent from race to race.

      Although, surely FOM could enter into some arrangement with the local broadcaster for each race, where the local broadcasters provide the gear, HD cameras, lights, audio, OB facilities etc, and FOM provides the camera men, producers etc.

      It would mean that we get consistent HD coverage, and would save FOM from having to ship tonnes of gear around the world every year or upgrade their current gear.

      1. Not sure about the “coverage is consistent from race to race” bit. At some races (e.g. Japan) the Director seems to dwell on local talent, even if they are circulating by themselves playing tail end Charlie, thus missing the real action happening elsewhere.

        Of course only the cynic might say that the real reason Bernie wants full control of the production is that if – hypothetically of course – a race were to take place in front of just a handful of spectators, then this might not make for a good look. Let’s take a race completely at random, say, um, err, Turkey.

        If the FOM officials arrived at the Turkish circuit and were confronted with an alarming number of empty grandstands, then they could position their cameras in such a way the empty stands would not show on TV. Furthermore, if FOM were able instruct their cameramen to always go for really tight shots of the cars, thus showing minimal background, the sponsors and advertisers would be completely in the dark as to the truth and Bernie would thus not be made to look like he was forcing the circuits to screw the fans for tickets at exorbitant prices. All completely hypothetical of course. I’m sure this could never happen.

  6. Not too disappointed by this. We’ve just started HD broadcast in Malaysia this year, but ESPN Star is not available on HD just now. So by the time F1 catches up, hopefully ESPN Asia would have as well.

    Looking forward to F1 HD in 2011.

  7. Indeed Miha! HD is already over for me. Bring on the 3D! If ESPN can broadcast World Cup games in 3D why not F1??

  8. While this is a shame, from a selfish point of view I’m not that bothered – don’t yet own a HD ready TV nor can I afford one at the moment! Personally, I only intend to buy an HDTV when F1 starts broadcasting in HD – it’s the biggest motivating factor for me. I expect HDTVs will be a lot cheaper in January 2011 than January 2010 – not least because the upcoming World Cup will be pushing up demand at the moment (and hence prices)

    So not all bad for thrifty F1 fans?

  9. It doesn’t really bother me, personaly I don’t see much difference between SD and HD. If you can see the cars going around the track then you should be happy.

      1. I actually have a 106cm flat screen TV smartass.

    1. You are kidding right? Can’t see the difference?
      “If you can see the cars going around the track then you should be happy.” Thats pretty low expectations for someone who is watching the “pinnacle” of motorsports.

      1. I grew up in a small country town with crappy TV reception, so anything is good to me know.

      2. lol if you cant see the difference from sdtv to hdtv then crickey get to the doctors and get an eye test immediately!

        The idea behind bernie controling the footage was to stop the italians focusing on only ferrari or the british just focusing on their driver same and etc etc.
        But that hasn’t really improved the footage, with commentators almost in the blind as much as us at home.
        They need to feed the broadcasters a range of feeds so they can atleast allow the guys commenting to be able to follow a battle after the official feed is swapped to focus on LH driving by himself, or a tiny inside wheel lock up slow-mo replay.

        If they did contract local tv crews to hire hd cam’s and broadcast unit then the implementation should be very very easy, and be a lower cost than lugging around all the gear all around the world.

        The reason why it’s not in HD now…is totally beyond me, maybe it has something to do with a future deal to supply f1 to paytv only????

        1. and the thing to remember is they tv stations that cant broadcast in hd can always downscale to suit their own market…

          It’s a win win situation…
          F1 need to pull your heads out of your ars…behind

  10. If, and that’s a big if, it happens in 2011 then that’s fine by me.

    I’m probably moving in the latter half of this year so will be buying new tv etc and will look at getting HD TV then (whether or F1 is on HD I figure if I’m buying a new TV, might as well go that way) so would then be able to watch F1 in HD next year…that said, I watched most of the 2009 season on the iplayer stream so even SDTV is a big improvement for me!!

    1. You should look at buying one of those new 3D TV’s that they are making now.

  11. Kind of ridiculous that in the US we can watch .5 mile dirt track oval racing in HD, but we can’t watch F1 (the pinnacle of motorsports) in HD.

    Some other people have said that SPEED in the US broadcasts F1 in HD. It’s not true guys. SPEED does broadcast in an upscaled format, which makes it better looking than regular SD. THe only way F1 can be broadcast in HD is when FOM films the races with HD cameras.

  12. Here in Portugal there is no free service if you want to have channels from all over the world. Here in home I just have the four principal portuguese TV channels (RTP, RTP2, SIC, TVI). The first broadcasted Formula One until 2006. The second is seen by no one. The third and fourth are privateers and just have a little information about motorsport(although TVI is broadcasting Dakar resumes every day). Until 2007 I had Eurosport, RTL (I saw F1 there in 2007)free signal until they change it to codified signal. And if almost all portuguese channels have HD cameras why FOM has not that cameras?

  13. I’m surprised by the number of comments claiming many F1 fans don’t really care whether F1 is broadcast in SD or HD, “as long as you can see the cars circulating” and that Bernie no economic incentive to go HD.

    Try putting that argument to the myriad of small sponsors who pay megabucks for postage stamp sized logos on the cars – an HD signal would dramatically increase the legibility of their logos and thus the value of their sponsorships. It’s surely a no-brainer for Bernie?

  14. If all the F1 teams bought HD onboard cameras for there car will BBC take footage from them ? i noticed some cars had it in 2009

  15. I agree with those that express dismay at FOM’s tardiness in introducing HD coverage. It does some rather incredible in 2010 for F1 not to have HD coverage.

    That said I am *personally* not to bothered. But that’s because I have no depth perception so the impact of HD is somewhat lost on me and 3D is completely lost on me. In fact all 3D films give me is a blazing headache – I had to walk out of watching Avatar after an hour because I felt nauseous.

  16. Here in Portugal, from 2 years ago, the F1 exclusive jumped from the public channel RTP1 to the cable and paid SportTV – I must say – I see it all now – from friday 1st practice until the end of the prees conference at the end of the race (the information is nothing compared with BBC broadcast – we don’t have anybody on site, only a guy that know the same that we do – liking at a monitor and a PC with the Live Timing in the FIA official site like I can do. I don’t know when that rule from FIA ou FOA or whatever changed – I remembered the in all countries the chanel that has the exclusive to F1 broacasting must be open and no paid… We have RAI, BBC, TVE… and here for now… something changed that rule so we have paid F1 broadcast – who doesn’t have cable and the decoder box, plus that channel (SportTV) signed and payed at the end of the month together with the base cable pakage… doesn’t see F1… – I really would like to know from all the countries in Europe if there are more like Portugal and more in and open channel – It would be a nice discution topic.

    1. Hi Net Sticks – we did discuss that fairly recently as it happens, see here: FOA want more F1 on pay-TV

  17. The Australian free to air ‘oneHD’ had HD studio pieces and HD track interviews – surprisingly often with Mark Webber!

    However they don’t always show live qualie and never show practice, for that I use justin.tv and that defo isn’t HD!

    I would think F1 branding would require (demand) a cutting edge broadcast technology, such as 3D and multiple feeds (ie all in car cameras and pits) on the internet. Instead it’s piratefeeds, nothing or SD.

  18. Simply ridiculous.

    The ‘pinnacle’ of motorsport, the most high-tec subject, and SDTV.

    Ecclestone you are absolutely clueless.

  19. JimmyBurnWorld
    12th March 2010, 13:17

    Apparently all the cameras used by FOM are full HD, with all the paddock footage being in HD. Only when the feed is released from the paddock by FOM for use around the world is it down-scaled to SD.

    Rumours were that Bernie was looking at his own pay-per-view channel allowing customers to access the full HD feed.

    1. Tom Chiverton
      12th March 2010, 16:27

      They tried that years ago remember, failed totally.

      1. That wasn’t a HD channel though, that just digital, at a time when digital take-up was far lower than it is today.

    2. Jimmy – really? Where did you hear this?

  20. But the video on the F1 website is at a much higher resolution than we get on broadcast. Doesn’t that suggest that FOM kit is HD capable but they just aren’t releasing it?

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