High-definition nearing for UH


POSTED: Tuesday, July 07, 2009

If all goes as planned, the entire home schedule for the University of Hawaii pay-per-view sports broadcasts this year will be offered in high-definition.

Oceanic Time Warner Cable, KFVE and UH are near agreement on a deal to upgrade to HD all home games on the pay-per-view schedule, Oceanic vice president Norman Santos said yesterday. The pay-per-view events again include football, women's volleyball and men's basketball games.

When UH, Oceanic, and KFVE negotiated the current TV contract last year, high-def was included as a future possibility.

That time is now.

“;We're still working out a few kinks, but it looks really, really positive,”; Santos said. “;We're still working out the schedule and trying to figure out some other things.”;

The price of pay-per-view has steadily risen since the package's creation in 2002, and will go up again. Last year's package of 18 games (11 football, four basketball, and three volleyball) was $430 on Oahu, or $380 for renewing customers.

Santos said the price will increase as incentive to get fans out to games. The specific price range is expected later this week. There is also a significant cost involved to convert to HD; Oceanic has broadcast some high school games in HD on OC-16.

“;I think the major consideration previously (was that) we all had some skepticism as to putting such a good quality product on TV; less people would show up at the stadium,”; Santos said. “;So we're trying to make sure we don't detract from the live audience.”;

UH associate athletic director John McNamara said he hoped all aspects of this year's pay-per-view would be finalized by the end of the week.

“;Our goal is to announce (the whole deal) as soon as we can, but we want to make sure that we don't make an announcement prior to all the areas, logistics being worked out,”; McNamara said.

Santos said that the parties want to ensure the product is up to snuff. He alluded to two instances last year when road pay-per-view games were interrupted. After technical difficulties caused subscribers to miss most of the first quarter of UH's game at Fresno State, Oceanic granted subscribers a refund chip.

“;We're very cognizant of quality,”; Santos said. “;We can't have something that people are paying for that's not of a high quality standard. We're trying to make sure we do it right. Last year we had a couple of mess-ups in away games, and we're trying to make sure, one, there's no more mistakes, things aren't taken for granted, and two, if we do put something out there, we want it to be something that if it was CBS in New York picking it up they'd be happy to see this is real good, quality stuff.”;

Athletic director Jim Donovan was open to the HD possibility during an interview with the Star-Bulletin last week.

“;Can we get more out of pay-per-view? I think that's really possible,”; Donovan said. “;But it's dependent on probably the price point of pay-per-view, high-definition broadcasts, the win-loss record of the team, and the overall economy.”;

He added that the game schedule is nearly set, but that “;there's a couple of question marks on certain games.”;