I’ve had a high definition television (and tuner, which is the real hurdle) for nearly 8 years now. In all that time, I’ve only seen two commercials that were broadcast in high definition.
The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at this phenomenon:
The Super Bowl, with its massive audience, is the event for which advertising agencies produce their most high-profile work each year. Yet surprisingly, with nearly six weeks left till the big game and many of those widely anticipated commercials careening toward the finish line, leading postproduction houses that support agency clients report little discussion of high-definition.
That means that while HDTV-equipped viewers tuning in to the Super Bowl might marvel at every muscle ripple beneath the players’ uniforms, they also might be jolted by grainy commercial breaks featuring letterbox spots that make advertisers look quaintly out of date.
… It’s especially strange when one considers that the commercial industry has long been a vanguard for entertainment production, showcasing new techniques and breaking directorial talent.
“There just aren’t enough people getting HDTV to make it worth the cost,” says consultant Damon Webster, a former agency executive. “You hear that the sets are selling, but it’s more than just buying the TV — you’ve then got to sign up for an HD service at extra cost.”
That last quote shows one of the problems: lack of knowledge about digital television.
To receive high definition broadcasts, you don’t have to “sign up” for any “service.” High definition television — at least, network television — comes to you free, over the air. All you need is an antenna and a tuner. You don’t have to subscribe to anything at all to see the Super Bowl in HD, it’s on your local Fox station.