HD Debut for White House Drama

Fans of The West Wing will be able to see it in HD for the first time when Sky’s SoHo channel strips it at 6.40 weeknights.

The White House hit replaces Mad Men from January 16 and precedes another iconic drama of the last decade, Six Feet Under, switching to HD with the start of season three in April.

The West Wing had its inauguration in 1999 and ran for seven terms.

Although the series has yet to be released on Blu-ray, users of services like iTunes and Amazon On Demand have been able to download it in HD since late 2010.

At the time, IGN reported it as being “a new game plan for Warner Bros Digital Distribution, a new division of Warner Bros that will attempt to sidestep the hard copy process.

“We speculate that this will be a new way of distributing catalogue titles in high-definition that are not incredibly high on the ladder of priority.”

Around the same time, WB remastered Friends in HD but hasn’t yet released this perennial crowdpleaser on Blu-ray, either.

Most of SoHo’s library content already is in HD – which made last month’s box set weekend screening of season one of Damages in SD both surprising and ironic.

Damages was filmed in HD but aired in SD because Sky originally licensed the legal drama for its SD entertainment channel, Vibe.

By the time it was deemed a better fit for SoHo, the SD materials already had been negotiated.

Even more disappointing for fans is TVNZ has a life-of-series agreement with Sony for Damages.

So far it’s broadcast three seasons; the fourth aired last year in the US and the fifth will screen this year.

So even if Sky does license subsequent seasons of Damages for SoHo, don’t expect to see them in HD until after their late-night SD run on TV One.

Meanwhile, the latest HBO series to screen late-night in SD on TV One are Big Love and Hung, both of which resume this month.

The former’s never aired here in HD while the latter did in its first season.

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