It was announced with some fanfare over the summer that Peachtree TV would be Atlanta’s affiliate in the new SEC Network.
For Comcast’s Atlanta customers, this deal has been a loser and a step backwards. The SEC Network on Peachtree TV has only been showing up in standard definition. A lot of people are wondering what’s going on. Peachtree TV has apparently been bombarded with enough questions about this topic that they’ve put up an FAQ about it:
SEC games are shot and aired in native 1080i high definition. Not all providers carry Peachtree TV in HD. You will need to check with your cable or satellite provider to see if it is available to you. Please note: Comcast airs Peachtree TV in HD only during Primetime hours for Braves games coverage.
From the information Peachtree TV has given, the ball is completely in Comcast’s court. And it’s true, Comcast does activate an HD feed of Peachtree TV for Braves games (channel 802 in my area). Channel 802 is nothing but a test pattern on Saturday afternoons.
It’s an especially swift kick in the groin knowing that I can change channels and find good old Jefferson-Pilot broadcasts of ACC football in glorious HD. Regional broadcasts of SEC games along the Jefferson-Pilot / Lincoln Financial network were in HD last year. The return of the games to standard def, new-and-improved branding and all, isn’t a move in the right direction.
Again, this isn’t a matter of limited HD capacity which keeps channels like ESPNU-HD unavailable. Comcast is converting much of the Atlanta area during the fall over to a digital signal which will allow for greater capacity and additional HD channels very soon (better late than never). But in the case of Peachtree TV, the capacity is already there on channel 802.
Considering the ads Comcast is running touting the most SEC coverage available, this halfhearted effort to carry the SEC Network isn’t acceptable. If you’re a Comcast customer in Atlanta, consider contacting them through any of these methods.
PS…the AJC warns us that this weekend’s game with Arizona State won’t be on basic Comcast cable. ESPNU is part of the Sports and Entertainment package which, I must admit, is well worth the $5 per month. Fork it over even if ESPNU won’t be in HD yet.