Rialto Channel Next to Go HD?

Sky isn’t commenting on which of its channels will be the next to go HD but expect Rialto to make the overdue upgrade as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.

It’s likely a date will be announced for the transition at tonight’s birthday party for the channel in Auckland.

The HD overhaul will be the channel’s biggest change since it was rebranded six years as “The Storyteller”, reflecting its expansion from mostly independent and art house movies to higher profile titles and more UK and international TV series.

To reflect its growth and the diversification of its content, the Rialto Channel needed a refresh to expand the appeal of the brand and engage new audiences. Specifically, it needed to shift the perception that it’s exclusively focused on little-known foreign films and recast itself as an entertainment channel that has something for everyone.

Given it’s a premium channel that costs Sky subscribers $10 a month extra, Rialto never should have been allowed to languish in SD for so long — if you’re paying top dollar for a service, you’re entitled to a top shelf experience.

The big question is whether Rialto will transmit in 1920x1080i or 1440x1080i.

When Sky trumpeted its new 12-channel sport service, it neglected to mention it would suffer the same fate as its movie service, with not all HD channels being equal.

“Our Sky Sport channels will continue to be a mixture of 1440 and 1920,” a spokeswoman said.

“Our channels are continually monitored and reviewed to ensure the best possible viewing experience for our customers.”

Sky adopted the same strategy when it launched Sky 5, Vibe, Sky Box Sets, Sky Movies Classics and Sky Movies Action in 1440x1080i.

Still, even quasi-HD is better than SD, the sub-standard for another of Sky’s movie buff channels, Vintage, which hopefully also is among Sky’s HD priorities.

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6 Responses to “Rialto Channel Next to Go HD?”

  1. Does dropping frame rates for sport qualify as quasi-HD rather then real HD? Motion blur on Spark “dumbeddown” Sport as it’s dropped from 50/60 fps to 25/30 fps, according to the Herald.

  2. Thanks for that, Mike. Another depressing sign of the backward state of streaming in NZ, where Spark’s Lightbox maxes out at HD and stereo. Here’s the link to the story, which is behind a paywall.

  3. I watched some of the 2011 RWC on demand game of the All Blacks vs France and it is definitely in the lower frame rate of around 30fps. I couldn’t tolerate the low fps so I stopped watching. The picture quality was definitely less than Sky Sports, so my opinion on it that’s it’s only average quality, definitely not the best quality on the market. I think that free to air will be the better option for best quality broadcast for this event … I’m tempted to cancel the RWC pass.

  4. Crikey! Worse than Sky Sport? That does sound grim. I would encourage you to cancel or at least complain to Spark as that’s the only way these services will start to improve.

  5. Was Spark Sport 50/60hz???

  6. Apparently it was. Lots of discussion on Geekzone – including Twitter confirmation from Spark that RWC will NOT be 60fps (the host broadcaster in Japan will be doing 60fps).

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