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Night one of one of the most anticipated HD Channels is now complete. Last night at 6PM Discovery HD Theater made is long awaited debut on Dish Network. With some minor technical sound glitches at the launch which were quickly corrected at the Dish Network uplink center the rest of the night was flawless.

And while the picture was great and the sound was also good I was left feeling empty and disappointed with the new service.

My main reason for this feeling was due to the lack of programming on the channel. You see at 6PM when Discovery HD came on a Dinosaur special was playing, at 8PM (just two hours later) we were watching the same Dinosaur show again (Although this time in Dolby Digital 5.1 instead of 2.0).

Looking at Discovery's Website http://dhd.discovery.com I noticed that the game plan is to program 3 hours a day of new shows which are repeated throughout the day. (So the same show plays 8 times a day)

None of the shows are from Discovery's normal library of shows instead its like a smorgasbord of HD shows. Not knowing any of the shows or hosts made you feel like an outside looking in. (Although instead of looking in via a TV you felt you were looking through a window)

Yes Discovery HD has ads, including a few HD ads for Best Buy as well as some cool HD Movie Trailers. Other ads were in 4 x 3 Standard Definition these ads included Petco and Sun Microsystems. For hour long shows there was an Intermission. I guess Discovery's Definition of an Intermission is more ads, which were inserted a half hour into the show.

One of my concerns about Discovery HD was eased last night and that concern was the fear of a big Discover HD logo on the screen. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ad only popped up once for each show and only for a few seconds. The logo was so transparent that you really didn't notice it! The logo only displayed halfway the logo was cut off on the right side of my screen.

Now on to the picture. Last night I had a huge smile on my face these are the pictures I have been waiting to see, and Discovery delivered! Although I must confess that for some things the picture was "too good" for example on the show Insectia the host of this show had never been given the gift of a toothbrush. Besides the host spitting a lot while talking to the camera his brown rotting teeth with all kinds of crap stuck to them was not a pleasant thing to see on my TV. Every time this guy appeared on my screen I wish I had a switch to go easily to Standard Definition just so I couldn't see the detail of his teeth.

The audio was very good, it was nice seeing the Dinosaur show repeated again later this time in Dolby 5.1 the sound was great and some scenes surprised me with some of the rear channel effects that came when you didn't expect them.

So ultimately is Discovery HD Theater worth $8.99 a month? In my opinion "No" to me this channel was not the Discovery Channel, instead it seems to be a channel where they throw 3 hours of whatever HD then can find on the air. And because of the lack of programming and the weird feeling you get when you watch something yet have no idea what your watching I was left with a weird feeling like I was watching a generic channel who had good video.

I know it will take time to get use to the new HD shows, but I hope Discovery brings some of its more famous shows into the HD mix. I am imagining seeing Steve Irwin getting bit by a Croc in HD on the Croc Hunter.

Will I subscribe? I am of the feeling that any HD is worth supporting, and while at the moment I am not happy with the programming on DIscovery HD I must support them. My feeling is that things will only get better. I feel if we as an HD community do not support Discovery HD other HD Networks will be slow or reluctant to launch. So yes I do plan on subscribing to Discovery Theater HD.

We had about 8 - 12 people join us last night for our Discovery HD Launch Chat Party! Thanks to everyone who joined us!

I look forward to hearing from other people out there who watched last night to see how you feel about Discovery HD Theater.
 
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