• Jan 14, 2011
Motorsports fans, rejoice. Formula One took its sweet time in rolling out coverage in glorious High Definition, but starting next season, viewers will be able to soak up all the open-wheel action in 1080i resolution. According to Autosport, F1 organizers have been toying with the notion of delivering an HD feed for some time. This winter, Formula One Management began testing brand-new equipment to make sure that broadcasts could be made at the rate of 42 mbps. Those tests apparently went well, as FOM has announced that every F1 camera will be replaced with new HD hardware. In-car cameras, meanwhile, will still be standard definition.
So far, a handful of broadcasters have already committed to carrying the new HD coverage, including Sky Germany and Globo in Brazil. There's no word as to whether American fans will be able to sink their eyeballs into the 1080i broadcast or if we'll be stuck with a scaled-down version of the feed. According to Autosport, that's exactly what most viewers in the UK can expect. Rumor has it that the BBC has its eyes on broadcasting the races on its HD channel and then downscaling the footage for the rest of its viewers. Thanks to all for the tips!

*Updated with official press release from SPEED TV after the jump.

[Sources: SPEED, Autosport]

SPEED™ ECSTATIC ABOUT FORMULA ONE MANAGEMENT DECISION TO DELIVER INTERNATIONAL FEED IN HD

F1 SEASON BEGINS MARCH 13 LIVE ON SPEED FROM BAHRAIN


For the first time ever, the international feed for the FIA Formula One World Championship™ is being originated and offered in High Definition, giving U.S. F1 fans something to cheer about in 2011.

"We couldn't be more pleased with this decision and our ability to bring our rabid F1 fan base coverage of their favorite racing in HD in 2011," said Rick Miner, SPEED SVP Production & Network Operations. "And SPEED is going the extra mile, installing continuous fiber service to guarantee the best possible picture quality."

The Formula One season opens March 13 with live coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix on SPEED. Sixteen of the season's 20 races will be live and exclusive to SPEED in the U.S., with four events airing on FOX.

"This is great news for fans of Formula One on SPEED, and an overdue one as well," said Bob Varsha, the longtime host of F1 race broadcasts on SPEED. "Our engineers have done great work in recent seasons enhancing the digital feed we and the rest of the world have been supplied, but once SPEED went to high definition it was obvious there was something missing. This announcement means those days are now over, and viewers will be able to enjoy the spectacle of F1 with the clarity and color of true HD. I can't wait for Bahrain in March."

SPEED made the move to High Definition in February of 2008, before building and moving into a state-of-the-art HD facility in Charlotte, NC later that same year.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just to head off the comments:

      No...Speed HD has not been showing the broadcasts in HD...just a wide aspect SD.

      If you can't tell or don't care about the difference then this is not news for you.

      For me...Hell yes, that it took this long is pathetic. If the USA does not get this I'm sure that the F1 website with telecast and, if that is true, I will probably not ever turn speed on again.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think Speed's feed was a little more than upscaling SD. The picture quality was too good for it to be upscaled SD. As someone mentioned earlier, it looks to have been 420i/576i upconverted to 720i/p
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bernie is a cheap bastard and likes to rake in as much money for himself as possible - hence the long delay with HD and its higher costs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's odd, I watched all races last season in HD even in-car cameras on some top teams were in HD...
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, you did not. You most likely saw an anamorphic 16:9 SD feed which has been broadcast for the last few years. I have a few promo clips shot by some of the teams in true HD (1080i), and believe me, the difference is noticeable!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea, they def have already been broadcasting in HD.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wrong in all counts! Last year Bernie broadcast his circus in a 16:9 PAL format (576i) and then Speed/Fox upscaled it to 720p.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @FraggleRock
        You assume there will be some tarmac at the Austin site under which I may be buried, an assumption I do not share.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think while it was in a widescreen aspect ratio, it wasn't actually 720 or 1080 so no HD.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe... I can tell you tho the difference between the quality of the SD in-car camera in say an HRT and the in-car HD Redbull or Ferrari were very very noticeable during the same race
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ElTiante

        How dare you insult Bernie, the Wise Old Wizard! He has the power to destroy small countries, and produce oddly attractive yet moronic progeny. If you tempt his wrath, you just must find yourself at the Austin F1 circuit - six feet under the tarmac! Or perhaps interviewed by Martin Brundle... either way it would be a pretty nice day for any F1 fan.

        Oh yeah, I likes me some HD too
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bernie did not want the picture too look so good at home as his motive is to put bodies in seats and sell more tickets. How else can you afford to buy $300,000 watches?
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's about freakin' time...

      You'd think an auto sport that is all about hi-tech would have already joined the HD world a while ago. I guarantee that Comcast will be the last HD cable provider to join this race.
      • 4 Years Ago
      LIKE!

      And, its about time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is gonna make downloading the races take forever, but the thought of how pretty it will all be... Makes it all worth it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh brilliant. Interlaced video for high-speed motion. This will certainly not look like a smudgy mess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly, I don't understand why they didn't go with 720p.
      • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good enough for me! I have Speed HD on my local Comcast cable (Channel 731) and will welcome the HD feed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        TSN has also confirmed (via a corporate communications email) that their BBC-produced coverage will be broadcast in HD in Canada.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, I was wondering if someone had posted that Speed had confirmed already. I posted that on my Facebook account (with the big smiley de rigueur) a couple of days ago! :-)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Didn't Bernie have HD PPV several years ago but due to a low pickup rate he canceled it until more people adopted HD?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now we must wait and see which broadcasters pick up the feed. BBC have. Speed? TSN? RDS? I am thinking that for TSN and sister station, or station soeur, RDS will. TSN already uses the BBC feed (audio and I must assume world feed video), which means that RDS (French) use the video, with French commentary.
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