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Thomson, CBS Team Up For NFL Playoffs In HDTV

Indianapolis – Thomson has reached an agreement to sponsor CBS’s high-definition TV coverage of the National Football League’s AFC divisional and conference championship games next month.

By kick-off, more than 100 CBS DTV affiliate stations covering approximately 83 percent of U.S. homes will carry the HD divisional playoff games on Jan. 11 and 12 and the conference championship on Jan. 19, 2003.

Mike O’Hara, Thomson worldwide sales and marketing executive VP, noted the AFC divisional playoff telecasts carrying spots for RCA’s digital television products would be presented on DTV screens across the floor of CES in Las Vegas (Jan. 9-12).

At last year’s show, Thomson announced similar sponsorship plans for the Super Bowl, which was carried by the FOX Network in the 480p Enhanced Definition Television (EDTV) format.

‘As the official consumer electronics sponsor of the NFL, Thomson is especially pleased to join CBS in making these high-profile playoff games available in the most realistic HDTV format,’ O’Hara said. ‘Thomson, through its RCA brand, has been among the leading contributors to the development of HDTV, and today’s announcement further demonstrates the extent of our support for this exciting new advancement in home entertainment.’

CBS said it will produce the games as ‘unified productions,’ meaning the same equipment and commentary will be used for both the analog and digital TV broadcasts. The HDTV signals will be transmitted in the 1080i DTV broadcast format.

‘CBS Sports is pleased to partner with Thomson and further the network’s position as a leader in the digital sports television arena,’ said Sean McManus, CBS Sports president.

CBS current offers the majority of its primetime lineup in HDTV each night, and has produced such events and the NCAA Final Four and The Masters Golf Tournament in 1080i. At press time, 83 CBS-DTV affiliates covering approximately 72 percent of homes with digital broadcasts. That number was to grow to 100 by the football telecasts.