Why some viewers might still miss out on HD State of Origin

Angus Kidman 15 June 2016

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Shifting alliances mean some sports fans still won't get HD, and show how much catching-up free-to-air still has to do to remain competitive.

This year marked the first time that the State of Origin has been broadcast in HD on Nine's main channel. While there are other options for streaming the broadcast, if you want an HD experience than the actual live-to-air broadcast remains your only bet.

Well, unless you live in regional Queensland, southern NSW or regional Victoria that is. In those areas, there's a fair chance that 9HD won't be available for you to watch the third Origin match on 22 July.

That's because Southern Cross Austero (SCA) is taking over the licence to rebroadcast Channel Nine in those areas from 1 July from current provider WIN. SCA will need new broadcast equipment to transmit 9HD (and also 9Life), and it has confirmed that it won't have that equipment on 1 July, Mumbrella reports.

While SCA is confident that the system will be up and running by mid-August, it hasn't committed to it being ready by 22 July. That means fans in those regions may well have to make do with an SD broadcast of the live match, whether on TV or on their devices.

Missing one HD sporting match is not the end of the world, but the fact this has come about at all shows just how far behind the eight-ball broadcast TV is when it comes to competing in the streaming world. Only in the last year have Seven and Nine even started experimenting with live broadcasting of their main channels (which in turn led to the dispute that saw WIN exit its partnership with Nine).

Sport, news and reality TV are the last bastion of defence that traditional TV has against streaming giants like Netflix. They can't afford to get it wrong too often.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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