Originally Posted by videobruce
I think you really lost me here. Are you referring to MSO's or local broadcast stations themselves?
Local broadcast stations
Are you referring to a simulcast of the HD main channel especially for for older CRT TV's using your sub-channel tailored for those sets?
A separately programmed channel that originates 16:9 SD. If you were to look at the "resolution of it" it would be 720x480i. But due to anamorphic technique, something that is used all the time in SD DVD's it will display in proper aspect ratio of 16:9 on a 16:9 screen. If a station has converted to HD, then all programming is 16:9. GEP (good engineering practice) dictates you don't have half a plant in one aspect ratio and the other half in another. Broadcast stations have already been down that path with analog 4:3 and digital HD RF channels. It duplicates equipment and then you find you are constantly converting or cross converting and all that converstion reduces PQ and the chances of getting the wrong aspect ratio on the air. It makes MUCH more sense to move everything around the plant in one aspect ratio and then at the final distribution point (station encoder) you convert only once. That is what we do at my station. We move everything around in 16:9 and only convert what we have to at the source to get it in the correct aspect ratio of 16:9.
Here is a TSReader read out of our subchannel. As you can see from it, it is clearly 720x480i but the display bit is clearly 16:9.
And actually most new TV's DO recognize the difference between 720x480 and 864x480 as well as the AFD code of 16:9 anamorphic SD when it sees the correct AFD 16:9 code and will display accordingly. Most stations do not use 864x480 nor the 16:9 AFD code for SD so the screen doesn't follow it. Most still don't use AFD for HD beyond the network passthrough. At my station we do use AFD very liberally with local programming. It works really well in HD or SD.
Explain? I don't see the problem. If 4x3 material is 4x3 and 16x9 is 16x9, where is the problem??
Is this a one time station expense or is this at the source end, per program?
One time expense. It is done per source, not program. Once the converter has been bought for the source, you can then adjust it for whatever aspect you need. There are still many SD non network syndicated programs out there. It is quickly changing though. The 2009-10 season, outside of network we only had 4 shows that were available in HD. This season only 4 shows we are airing are not available in HD and only one that is still fed in analog while the other SD programs are fed SD digital, but still in 4:3. Within 5 years I would suspect there will be no first run syndicated programming in SD 4:3 available. We air a total of 20 hours of programming a day in HD, including newscasts with next season, we may be 100%. If not, we will be pretty close.
News feeds are starting to be available in 16:9 and HD as well. About half of the stations that do news have converted to HD or 16:9 SD with more converting all the time. When we started 16:9 SD news in 2009, the only 16:9 news material we had was what we locally produced. Now, about 85% is 16:9 with about 50% of that shown in HD on our newscasts with all local material in HD. We converted to full HD news, including live field shots and our sat truck in September of last year. Being a FOX affiliate, the vast majority of our FOX national material is 16:9. CNN is behind on their affiliates in getting 16:9 material but they are offering more 16:9 SD material as well. The group that owns us has setup a HD IP link between stations for story swaps so if one of our stations is in LA, we can pull the story down and play it back on our air IN HD. Being a former FOX O & O we still have the O & O interstation fiber link that has been updated to HD so we can send HD material between the former and current FOX O & O stations. That is something that isn't available to the just plain FOX affiliates.
Due to all that, that is why it makes no sense to maintain two separate aspect ratio infrastructures within the station. We have hardly any SD 4:3 material that we deal with anymore so a 16:9 anamorphic SD makes the most sense with the final downconversion at the SD encoder input.