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Lord Stanley and Larry O’Brien – Who to watch?

Posted by lozenp on May 27, 2008

Along the lines of such complaints as “All my $50s won’t fit in my wallet” and “I don’t know which of my boats to take out today” comes my grumble about the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings playing their playoff games on the same night… at the same time…three nights in a row.

The Red Wings are in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, looking to win their fourth title since 1997, while the Pistons are battling the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, looking to make their first trip back to the NBA finals since 2005. Everything is great in Detroit unless your team is named after a large cat, right? (Lions, Tigers, you listening?)

Not so fast.

The first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals, and games three, four and five of the Eastern Conference Finals are all being played on the same nights, with starting times only 30 minutes apart. Fans in Detroit are in a pretty big bind trying to decide what game to watch.

My decision – both of course! My wife and I had been talking about getting a TV for the bedroom for some time now, and it just so happens we did that this weekend. Nothing fancy, a 32-inch Magnavox with a built in DVD player. Since we don’t have a cable jack in the bedroom yet, that TV had no place to live.

So, come game night, the 32-inch sits next to my 50-inch Samsung DLP in the living room, hockey on one, basketball on the other. I then make sure that my dual-tuner DVR has one tuner set to the hockey game and one to basketball so that if something happens in the game on the smaller set, we pause the game on the big set, flip the tuner, and watch the other game. Once you add in the delay on the HD DVR, if you flip tuners fast enough, you might not even have to back up to see the play your switching to see.

So far Detroit is 3-1 in this setup (darn Pistons), and we had seven people crammed in the living room on Memorial Day to see both teams win. And while it’s been fun, it’s unbelievably stupid that it’s come down to this. The NHL had a Finals that was getting good press, a lot of people were talking about it, and they force one of the cities to make a decision on which team to watch. Gary Bettman continues to try to destroy the NHL.

Why is it the NHL’s fault you ask? Two reasons. First, the NBA’s conference final schedule had already been decided when the NHL scheduled the Stanley Cup Finals. And second, the NBA is the big fish, so the NHL needs to do what it can to avoid the NBA at all costs. Does that give the NHL a little brother complex? Probably, but it’s the reality. When your league isn’t on a large portion of people’s TVs (thank you Vs. Network) and you draw less fans, you get the leftovers. If you want to change that, you need to get back on level footing, and you don’t do that by alienating the fans in one of the cities in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Phew, I’m getting off my soapbox now. The Wings look well on their way to the title, up 2-0 without giving up a goal. The Pistons, meanwhile, are in a fight, tied 2-2 heading to Boston. Wednesday night I’ll be back in my living room with my two TVs, cheering my teams on while trying to figure out what to do with all those darn $50s.

Posted in HDTV, Home Theater, Sports, TV | Leave a Comment »

March Madness HD on demand

Posted by lozenp on February 28, 2008

March Madness is just around the corner, and CBS is offering up an appetizer to college hoops fans with news of HD video on demand clips, highlights and recaps of all 63 games. Comcast and Bresnan Communications are the first cable operators to sign up.

CBS is teaming up with the CBS College Sports Network (CSTV) to produce the highlight packages and they will be free of charge to subscribers via the on demand feature.

Now, if Comcast can only figure out how to get me an HD feed for all the games on the first two days, I’d be all set. The last two years I’ve had to watch SD coverage on Thursday and Friday while my satellite subscribing friends got the games in all their HD goodness.

Posted in HDTV, Hoops, Sports | Leave a Comment »