Time Warner Adding Reds in HDTV, National Geo HDTV
Yes, it's true. Finally! Time Warner will carry Fox Sports Net Ohio's Reds games in HDTV this year, after refusing to provide them last year. FSN Ohio HDTV will be on Cincinnati Channel 968, and in Dayton on Channel 768.
FSN Ohio will do 71 games -- of its 145-game Reds schedule -- in HDTV, up from 33 games last year.
The HDTV games will be available at no extra charge to Time Warner customers with the company's HD converter. It's the same deal Insight cable offered to Northern Kentucky customers last year (and again this year).
So what changed at Time Warner?
"Contract negotiations. We were able to reach a deal with FSN Ohio," says Karen Baxter, local Time Warner public affairs director.
Of course, the Reds are thrilled. "We're very excited about Time Warner bringing the Reds in HDTV," says Jennifer Berger, Reds senior entertainment and events director.
Time Warner will launch the channel Tuesday, along with the National Geographic HDTV (Channel 757). I heard an ad during the Reds game tonight for FSN Ohio HDTV. But hold your excitement -- FSN Ohio won't have any HDTV games until the Cleveland Cavaliers game 3 p.m. on April 5. And the first Reds game in HDTV will be the sixth TV game of the season, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8 from Milwaukee. (As I noted last week, Opening Day will not be in HDTV because FSN Ohio couldn't get transponder time.)
Another thing: Time Warner is providing Great American Ball Park live game feeds, from the MLB Extra Innings package, to a dozen wide-screen TVs in the new "hh gregg Highlight Zone" in the leftfield corner on the terrace (first) level. Fans can watch games in progress while seated on Watson's patio furniture. It's just beyond the concession stands way down the third base line, near that entrance-exit under the Machine Room. It should be a pretty cool thing. And if there are no baseball games, the Reds might put other sporting events on the multiple screens -- perhaps the NCAA basketball tournament or the Masters?
Time Warner partnership with the Reds also provides high-speed access to all the Reds offices. But again this year, GABP won't be a wireless hotspot. Maybe someday.