With Michael Phelps spending a great deal of time in front of the cameras between 8:00PM and midnight ET each night, it's hardly a shock to hear that USers are tuning into the Olympics like its 1976. According to preliminary numbers, NBC Universal is reporting that an average of 29.1 million viewers are flipping on the Olympics, which is the "most highly rated broadcast of the Summer Games held outside the United States since 1976." When seeing figures like this, the obvious question emerges: why? Contrary to the beliefs of Big Media, the internet is actually somewhat to thank. Many believed that internet broadcasting would whittle down TV ratings, when in fact, it seems that quite the opposite has happened. Interestingly, it appears that all the high-def footage really isn't getting the credit it deserves. Be honest -- would you have stayed up until 1:00AM watching men's gymnastics had it not been in HD?

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