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High definition local news: more than a better picture

Posted by: | November 25, 2010 | No Comment |

With high definition TV being the norm with popular television programs today, more and more local television stations are converting their local news in HD.

All four major network stations in Washington are currently broadcasting their local newscasts in high def, but this trend only started 5 years ago, locally, when WUSA channel 9 went all-HD.

Many smaller markets, such as Knoxville, TN, still have no stations broadcasting HD local news.

This article from Richmond, VA’s NBC 12 WWBT explains the expensive changes and upgrades that local televisions have to endure to bring that crisp, clear picture to their viewers.  Some of the changes include:

  • Rebuilding the entire infrastructure in the television station
  • Building a new control room
  • Purchasing expensive HD cameras to be used both in the studio, and, in some cases, in the field by reporters

The cost to convert an entire television station in a major market could be between 3 to 5 million dollars, says Mark Siegel, president of Advanced Broadcast Solutions.

It is very common to find TV stations introducing a new set at the same time they start broadcasting HD newscasts.  The majority of TV stations simply want a new look to coincide with their higher quality picture.  Other stations build a new studio because the HD cameras can pick up scratches, scuffs and blemishes on older studios that traditional tube TVs cannot see.

The switch to HD does not just stop at the camera.  News anchors and reporters are also commonly instructed to put on less makeup, as the HD camera makes excessive makeup applications very obvious.

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