How Super Bowl XLIV will be the highest-def ever

Nobody questions that high-def TV is a massive leap over that fuzzy picture we used to watch way back, oh, five years ago, but did you know that not all high-def is created equal? We've seen how cable companies can mangle the picture while trying to stuff too much signal down too small of a pipe, but now it looks like CBS wants to get the Super Bowl signal to your TV as pristinely as is possible.

Normally for a big live remote event like this, the broadcaster will do all of the video production work on site at the stadium, then compress the signal so they can deliver it by satellite to their broadcast center in New York or LA. From there it gets compressed again for distribution to broadcasters around the country and the world. This time though, CBS is taking a different approach. Instead of doing the production on site, uncompressed video feeds will be sent to their New York production center via fiber optic cable, where the director will create the show before it is distributed in the normal way. To do this, CBS is using a 1.5 Gigabit-per-second fiber optic line provided by Level 3 Communications, the company that built a big part of the infrastructure for the Internet. Over 2,800 hours of uncompressed HD video travel over this line, at a bit rate almost six times faster than the normal satellite hookup.

Sure, your cable provider will still be doing their best to screw up the signal before it reaches your home on the signal, but CBS says that by providing them with a cleaner signal that's been through fewer compression/decompression steps, the results will still be a clear step up over the old method.