Area fans unlikely to enjoy championship game in HD

Published: Friday, January 5, 2007 at 9:29 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 5, 2007 at 9:29 a.m.

Hans van Oostrom has a warning for fellow Gator fans: Monday night's BCS Championship Game may not be televised in high-definition in the hometown of the University of Florida.

"A lot of people buy high-definition TVs for Christmas and they just assume they'll be able to watch the game in high-definition," said Gainesville's Van Oostrom, who was hoping to watch the game in HD. "They'll probably find out the moment the game starts."

Cox Cable Central Florida carries the Fox affiliate out of Ocala, WOGX-TV FOX 51.

WOGX plans to go high-definition in February, according to Cox spokesman Rick Mulligan.

He said WOGX has been scrambling to put together an HD signal by fiber link to Cox in time for the Gators' Monday game against Ohio State.

As of yet, that has not happened, according to a written statement from Stan Knott, vice president and general manager of WOGX.

"We are currently working with local cable providers to identify alternative solutions so that Gainesville area viewers will be able to see the BCS game in HD," he wrote.

A direct feed to Cox would not help viewers like van Oostrom, who has an HD antenna that pulls the signal out of the air.

The Dish Network and DirecTV also do not offer Fox on HD in the Gainesville market, according to their Web sites.

In the meantime, fans have a few days to make friends in Lake City or Putnam County, where Time Warner Cable subscribers have Fox available in HD.

Is high-definition TV really that different? Van Oostrom says it is.

"You see all the detail. It's almost like you're there. With standard definition, there really are two differences. One is the resolution is much lower so you don't see the detail. And the shape is different. All of the broadcasts are wide screen so you see more of the field. You see the edges."

There is one thing that would help while watching Monday's game in standard definition, according to van Oostrom.

"If (the Gators) win, I'll enjoy it anyway."

Anthony Clark can be reached at anthony.clark@ or (352) 374-5094.

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