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Say It Ain't So, MOJO

When we first brought home our HDTV—a 50-inch Panasonic plasma—in 2006, and turned it on, my husband and I were dismayed by the dearth of luscious HD content on which to feast our eyes. But our cable provider had deigned to gift us with at least one channel that played all HD, all the time. I was dubious at first, after all, MOJO HD is clearly marketed to men, but I quickly got into MOJO.

The channel’s marquis act is Three Sheets with Zane Lamprey, a madcap series that follows a comedian/host (Lamprey) as he travels the world to learn the drinking customs and histories of cities and nations. Filled with local food, drinking games, and the requisite middling hangover cure, Three Sheets seems like a show that would appeal only to fraternity brothers and epicureans.

Instead, Lamprey’s oftentimes dry wit appeals to the kind of people who also enjoy the travel writing of, say, Bill Bryson. When I visited Brussels in 2007, I made a point of sitting on the very same bar stool in the prodigious beer bar that Lamprey hosted the Brussels episode from. That’s the kind of cult following that Three Sheets engenders, and I’m just a casual fan. Pleepleus, I’ll miss you, and I hope a more forward-thinking company buys the rights to Three Sheets.

Other MOJO shows to make an appearance on my DVR? After Hours With Daniel, a behind-the-restaurant-scene show hosted by acclaimed French chef Daniel Boulud, that showed what delicious dishes cocky chefs cook for each other to show off after their restaurants have closed for the night. The second season hit up many of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, where I live.

One of MOJO’s best uses of its expensive, advanced high-def cameras was the broadcast of London Live, a half-hour music show that captured live performances of mostly British bands. Concert footage can be lame, but in high-def, it was thrilling.

What’s In Demand’s logic for killing off this niche-y, yet much-loved channel? “The Mojo HD channel was originally conceived as a way to satisfy consumers’ thirst for pure true high definition programming,” according to the company’s statement. “While Mojo HD accomplished this goal, there is a wealth of HD programming now available and thus we have chosen to discontinue the service.”

Well, In Demand, I just may have to discontinue my cable service. There may be a wealth of HD programming available in some cities and through some service providers, but I’d wager that most HDTV-lovers aren’t satisfied with the amount they’re getting today. Providers like DirecTV, Verizon FIOS, Time Warner Cable and Comcast beat customers over the head with promises for more new HD channels, not fewer.

If the business climate for high-quality original HD channels is so bad that some of the best have to shutter their doors, it doesn’t give subscribers much confidence in the lowest common denominator that the other channels must sink to in order to stay afloat.

  • johnje
    "there is a wealth of HD programming now available and thus we have chosen to discontinue the service.”

    That is a joke of a statement. With comcast in the Northwest, I can click on the hd button and although it may show 20-30 channels as being in HD, I would be lucky to see maybe 5 that are actually broadcasting HD at any given time.

    In times like this, I'm asking myself if it is really worth paying the extra for HD when it is seldom available.
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    johnje"there is a wealth of HD programming now available and thus we have chosen to discontinue the service.”That is a joke of a statement. With comcast in the Northwest, I can click on the hd button and although it may show 20-30 channels as being in HD, I would be lucky to see maybe 5 that are actually broadcasting HD at any given time.In times like this, I'm asking myself if it is really worth paying the extra for HD when it is seldom available.I feel exactly the same way. When stuff like this happens it makes me wish that a la carte programming was an option. I could pick and choose to subscribe to individual HD channels--and ONLY HD channels.

    Thanks,

    Rachel Rosmarin
    Editor of Tom's Guide
    Reply
  • Acually, there IS a wealth of HD TV. I have Direct TV and there are a crap load of selection for HD; almost 100 channels I think are in HD. The complaints about not enough HD TV usually do come from Cable customers. I know, because friends of mine who have HD with Comcast have only 30 some odd channels to chose from. I hate to sound like a Direct TV commericial, but if you're going to spend X number of dollars for TV shouldn't you pay for more (Direct TV) instead of for less (Comcast)?
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    hemi_7382Acually, there IS a wealth of HD TV. I have Direct TV and there are a crap load of selection for HD; almost 100 channels I think are in HD. The complaints about not enough HD TV usually do come from Cable customers. I know, because friends of mine who have HD with Comcast have only 30 some odd channels to chose from. I hate to sound like a Direct TV commericial, but if you're going to spend X number of dollars for TV shouldn't you pay for more (Direct TV) instead of for less (Comcast)?Hemi,
    I'm seriously considering making the switch to Satellite. But, of course, I'll have to find a new ISP... so complicated. Verizon FIOS isn't in my neighborhood yet, unfortunately. I'd like more options.
    Reply
  • Though I haven't looked into Direct's offerings lately, Dish has recently added all the movie channels in HD as well as quite a nice selection of original programming. Though I still think that HD in general has a way to go, it's finally looking up.
    Reply
  • kamkal
    Best use of an HDTV

    1) Connected to your console of choice (360 or PS3)

    2) Connected to your computer, preferably one that can play games at 1920x1080

    3) sports channels (if they are in at least 720p)

    4) hi def movies from your PS3 or from your computer

    tv? pffffttttttt waste of timmmee

    :)
    Reply
  • lambofgode3x
    i'll stick with comcast. even though the hd selection isnt the greatest, the only time i give a shit about hd is when the flyers/eagles are playing, which is going to be on one of only a couple channels.
    Reply
  • Comcast Chicago takes way MOJO HD to show Comcast SportsNet + HD it should suck even more to take way a HD feed of a HD channel to show it. Why can't they take way a VOD slot. They also take way CLTV to show the SD feed.

    Direct tv takes away a PPV HD slot to show it.


    Reply
  • I'm going to miss Dr. Danger!
    Reply
  • MoJo is just one more piece of roadkill on the HD Highway. Let's not forget the real HD pioneer Voom. They offered 21 full time HD channels on a dedicated satellite service. Something for everyone, movies, cartoon, music, sports, etc. They also offered close to every HD channel available (including Playboy HD).
    Reply