Duke to Air US Presidential Debate in HD

Sky has issued a press release reminding subscribers that they can watch the final US Presidential Debate today on any one of its five news channels — but it’s TVNZ’s Duke that will provide the best coverage: in HD.

It’s inexplicable that amid the heightened interest in US politics post-Donald Trump’s election and the world because of the Covid-19 pandemic that Sky still hasn’t upgraded any of its news channels to HD.

Granted, their SD picture quality has improved, and the gap between the likes of Fox News’ SD and HD feeds isn’t that significant, because the latter maxes out at 720p.

But you just have to see US news footage in HD on TVNZ 1 or Three’s news hours, or Sky News UK’s YouTube feed, and the difference can be huge.

Surprisingly, TVNZ hasn’t issued a press release trumpeting the Duke programming. And although the Freeview EPG reflects its last-minute addition from 2pm-3.30pm, Sky’s EPG doesn’t.

Meanwhile, MediaWorks today released this update on its US election coverage:


Paul Henry will be back in the studio and sharing his political prowess with Newshub viewers for the upcoming US Election special America Decides on Wednesday, November 4th (NZT) from 4-6PM on Three. Paul will be supported in-studio by Tova O’Brien and Patrick Gower will be on the ground in the US bringing the latest updates to Kiwis.

Paul says: “There is so much to understand about the US Election and all of the decisions that have led to this point. Why is Trump there? Why is Biden? Who are the marginal voters and how did Trump get them to turn out in 2016? Will he be able to do it again in 2020? And most importantly, what impact will this have on New Zealand?”

Paul Henry lives and breathes American Politics. He has a house in Palm Springs where he spends much of his time and is just launching his third book focused on his passion for the United States.

Three’s coverage of the US Election will continue across the night with Newshub Live at 6PM followed by Newshub US Election Special: America Decides, both presented by Samantha Hayes and Tom McCrae, bringing you the final results as they unfold.

Patrick Gower, Newshub National Correspondent, says: “This will be the third US Election that I have covered and without question, it is America’s most important election. The United States seems more divided than ever and I can’t wait to be on the ground so I can show Kiwis what is really going on.”

“I spent eight weeks in the states in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 and I know how much New Zealanders love American politics. It shapes the world that we live in and I love being there and reporting back on your behalf.”

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9 Responses to “Duke to Air US Presidential Debate in HD”

  1. A presidential debate doesn’t need to be in HD. The content isn’t enhanced by being in HD. It’s certainly not something people will be willing to pay a premium for cf nature or sport or movies.

  2. It’s not just the debates, Mike, but news coverage generally that I’m advocating for. Personally, I think anything in HD makes for a superior viewing experience, especially when it comes to politicians’ body language. Just compare Three’s lack of investment in HD field cameras for Newshub vs TVNZ’s for 1 News. Given the abundance of movies and sports channels in HD, and increasingly more entertainment/doco options, it’s time Sky recognised the importance of those of us who subscribe for the news services, too. As for paying a premium: HD should be de rigueur, something Sky’s already acknowledged by dumping the HD ticket.

  3. The inability to monetise HD indicates the absence of value to viewers. One has to pay a premium for Blu-ay and a super premium for 4K as evidenced by price points for retailed content. Yet the relative volumes of sale are still at the cheap end of the market. A segment of the market values a better quality but the majority just want the content. Similarly for news – damn the quality, just give us the content cos that’s what we value. There is no value for 3News to have HD field cameras – having them or not won’t change viewers’ choice or revenue earned.

  4. I always never watch anything that’s not HD. You are incorrect when HD doesn’t enhance the experience. You are so wrong as in fact it does significantly improve the experience over SD. Since I started watching UHD content, I’m finding 1080p a little dull these days especially Sky’s fake and badly compressed broadcasts in 1440 by 1080i. I find pirated Amazon content to be a superior quality than Sky TV and that’s what I find most of the time.

  5. Agreed. HD like bacon makes everything better! 🙂

  6. Completely agree, Fsmith. Sky’s HD quality is far too variable. If you’re watching it on a premium 65inch display, the shortcomings are painfully obvious. Even the streaming services do a better job with their low-bitrate HD.

  7. I’m sure Homer Simpson would agree, thx1138.

  8. I just bought myself a 65 CX OLED on 1 October for $4399 and it was the last one in store. I can’t imagine how horrible broadcast TV will look on it. Its used 90% of the time for HD and UHD content! I’ve been using it lately as a gaming monitor for my PC and it’s the best gaming experience I had on a TV yet! Can’t wait for when I get my RTX 3080 to try out 4k 120hz.

  9. Yes, Fsmith, it’s a fabulous TV and one that arguably does the best job of masking Sky’s heavily compressed HD. I’m about to post a review of it.

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