Tennis Channel Serves Up HD

Tennis Channel will become the latest cable programmer to enter the HD arena, launching an HD network on satellite service DirecTV Monday from a brand-new technical and production facility in Culver City, Calif.

The new facility replaces Tennis’ former technical headquarters at Fox Sports’ uplink center in Los Angeles and includes a 5,000-square-foot production stage. It will be used to generate a 24-hour HD feed that will be downconverted to support the network’s existing standard-definition service.

“This is the Taj Mahal of high-definition tennis television,” said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO of Tennis, in a statement. “Its cutting-edge on-air capabilities put televised tennis on par with every major sports or entertainment studio facility but are devoted entirely to tennis and the growth of this great game.”

Tennis began producing original programming in HD in early 2007 to prepare for the launch, and it will now premiere all documentaries, series and specials in HD. It will also broadcast a number of tournaments in HD in 2008, including all domestic events, the French Open in Paris this spring and any U.S. Fed Cup matches played on U.S. soil. HD live-event coverage will start Feb. 2-3, with the Fed Cup match between the U.S. and Germany in La Jolla, Calif.

Other HD tournament coverage will include the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Fla.; the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas; the U.S. Clay-Court Championships in Houston; the NCAA Division 1 men’s and women’s singles championships; four Champions Series tournaments; and seven World Team Tennis matches.

To learn more about Tennis’ new HD home, look for the “New Facilities” special in the Jan. 7 issue of Broadcasting & Cable.