How much did High Def help NBC’s ratings for the Olympics? I would say it boosted them a great deal. While I did not think NBC’s High Def Quality was as good as I have seen, it was much better than past Olympics in Standard Definition. Mainstream sports don’t necessarily need HD to thrive but obscure sports are helped tremendously by HD and other video enhancements. The slow motion effects for sports like gymnastics and synchronized diving show small details that the lay person would not even be able to catch in real time. I have no idea how the judges see this stuff so I think they should judge the replay not the live event. Normally I would not watch synchronized diving even if it were held in the middle of my town. But I actually got caught up in it because I could see the difference in the teams through the video technology that has not been there in the past. The Chinese women’s team was the essence of perfection. It was as if one entity was performing as two humans. They even had the same haircut and were the same exact height! But to really tell the difference between them and the other competitors I had to see it in slow motion HD. It was not even close. They were superior to everyone else. While I admit I don’t know a thing about that sport, when presented in the proper format even I can recognize a superior performance.
Another sport I came to enjoy was women’s beach volleyball. The final match for gold was the American team versus the Chinese team. The match was played in the rain so the details were even more interesting. Every angle of every shot was clear as a bell. It was probably a better viewing experience than being there live, especially since I did not need a raincoat in my living room.