Orlando Loses (in HD)

While the rest of you losers were watching on your pitiful TVs, I had the chance to ‘experience’ the NBA Finals Game 5 on an HDTV, in HD (as opposed to an HDTV but still receiving a ‘standard’ signal).

I took this pic from about 5 ft. away.

How did this miracle of good fortune befall myself, who usually gets by with justin.tv? Well it’s all courtesy of Sony and Cignal TV, who found it in their kind hearts to relieve me from the unreliable world of internet streaming for a morning of HD goodness to watch the game live.

Myself and a bunch of other press people of course, as this marks the launch of Cignal TV: the first to offer High Definition service in the Philippines.

Seeing that Cignal’s website ‘www.mediascape.com.ph‘, seems offline yet, let me be the first to offer the details:

Media Scape is a subsidiary of PLDT and offers direct – to – home (DTV) services and MY TV digital video broadcasting – hand held (DVB-H) service in the Philippines.

HD means true 1080×1920 HD resolution, and they have 3 plans:

  1. Cignal Basic (20 standard definition channels for P390.00 / month, 4,700 setup fee)
  2. Cignal HD (2 HD Channels for P450.00 / month, 6,500 setup fee)
  3. Cignal Combo (Cignal Basic + Cignal HD for P790.00 / month, 4,800 setup fee)

There’s also a p1,000 installation fee, and you’ll get these things:

  • Either an HD Set Topbox with remote control cignal card.
  • Or an SD (standard definition) topbox with remote control cignal card.
  • And a seriously cool looking disk to put outside your house whose sole purpose is to make your neighbours wonder if you’re a terrorist. No, seriously, it’s a satellite dish for receiving tv signals (but don’t you think my purpose is more fun?).

So yeah as you can glean from above, Cignal TV’s service does not require a cable, and is therefore nationwide and available to anyone within access of satellites, ie. doesn’t live below the surface of the earth.

Take note as well of the intensely cheap monthly fees of p390 to p790 / month. At the moment they boast 25 channels in SD but offer certain channels in HD like something called ‘History HD’ and ‘Voom Networks’, which I know nothing about so will not expound.

Of course to experience true HD, you will need an HDTV set such as Sharp’s Aquos, Panasonic Viera, Samsung’s series 5 to 8 and as pictured above, Sony’s Bravia. Above model being the Z450 aka ‘the Ultimate Sports TV’ because it ‘renders fast moving objects smoothly onscreen’ (from the PR).

So How Was It?

To be completely honest, I found it a bit dizzying. For some reason when the camera follows very fast action the screen seems to refresh rather choppily, and when for example you follow a ball getting passed around your eyes tend to go faster than the action, which stops every frame or so.

I shared this same sentiment with a fellow journalist seated right beside me, who was the first to ask me if I noticed it too, and we both wondered if it was because we were wearing glasses or anything like that.

However, as far as clarity goes, watching in HD is about as close you can get to perfection. From my seat (approx. 4 – 5 feet away), you can easily make out the plays, jersey numbers, and celebrities in the audience. I actually had a bad angle with a bright window across from me, a sure fire formula for glare – but it didn’t matter. You don’t have to be directly in front of the screen to get a good view, and the 25 – strong people in the room all managed to watch without any problems.

For those with the extra moolah to spring for a 40+, 50+ or 60+ HD LCD set, then it makes great sense to get a Cignal TV Subscription to get the most out of your, ermm, investment, especially with those killer monthly prices. Plus you get the chance to hang that dish outside, giving your house that ‘Dr. Evil secret lair’ look you’ve always (admit it) wanted.

Oh and incidentally, the Lakers won their 15th title, with Kobe Bryant earning his 4th NBA Championship and Phil Jackson his 10th, surpassing that of Red Auerbach and taking his rightful place as the league’s best ever. The Orlando Magic produced an energy – deficient 86 points on 29.6% 3 point shooting and 41% FG shooting, which to me, kind of reminds me of their lackluster half – time show:

.. featuring some lady doing gymnastics with two sticks. Inappropriately uninspired (this is an NBA FINALS MUST WIN GAME, ORLANDO!!) and boring.