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NBC, HDNet To Team For HDTV Broadcast Of Winter Olympics

NBC and HDNet, the all-high definition television network started by visionary owner Mark Cuban, said they would carry select portions of the 2002 Winter Olympics from Salt Lake City in 1080I HDTV format.

High-definition coverage of the event, which will run Feb. 8-24, will be available to NBC’s 32 active DTV affiliates and to HDNet, which is carried by DirecTV. The HD coverage will include the same events as those carried in its standard definition coverage on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, but will air with a one-day delay.

HDNet, which will supply the production trucks for the HDTV coverage, will carry via DirecTV the same coverage as NBC, but NBC will sell the advertising spots. HDNet plans to show HDTV broadcasts daily from 3 p.m.-11 p.m. ET (repeated from 11 p.m.-7 a.m. and at 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.). NBC’s affiliates will run the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. broadcast, but have the option to carry the repeated broadcasts.

The Consumer Electronics Association quickly hailed the networks’ HDTV announcements.

“CEA and surely DTV consumers are simply elated by the NBC-HDNET announcement,” said CEA president Gary Shapiro. “Now all the consumers that already have a DTV in their home and all those who will receive DTV during the holiday season will be able to enjoy the Olympics from the comfort of their living room as if they were right there in Salt Lake. The Olympics have always been a favorite television event for Americans; now, it will be the ultimate event — like being there.”