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post #1 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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CNBC to Throw High-Def Switch in Fall

CNBC HD+ will offer about 50% more graphical information by taking advantage of the extra onscreen space and improved resolution of the widescreen HD picture

By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/17/2007 12:01:00 AM

Financial news network CNBC will launch a high-definition service this fall in an innovative fashion: by grabbing its existing 4:3 picture, shifting it to the left, and filling the widescreen frame with a bevy of 3D graphics displaying the latest market metrics.

The new network, branded CNBC HD+, will initially be carried by DirecTV as part of its dramatic expansion of HD channels, though CNBC will be actively pitching it to cable operators as well.

With its novel production approach, it will be seeking to differentiate itself from the standard-def CNBC more on enhanced content than picture quality, though it will upconvert the 4:3 video to 1080-line-interlace (1080i) HD resolution. CNBC HD+ will offer about 50% more graphical information by taking advantage of the extra onscreen space and improved resolution of the widescreen HD picture, which allows the use of smaller graphic fonts.

What we did was take a very nontraditional approach to HD, says Steve Fastook, CNBC vice president of technical and commercial operations. It would be relatively easy for me to replace all the cameras, make the studios all hi-def and be all happy. But it doesn't give viewers anything different than what's on CNBC [in the traditional world].

CNBC HD+'s top ticker will feature five stock indices instead of the three in the standard-def, 4:3 network, while the scrolling stock ticker on the bottom can display three companies at once, instead of the current one in SD. More important, the right-hand side of the screen will now present a variety of dynamic content through 3D graphics, such as Stocks to Watch, price charts or earnings data, or lists of investment sectors such as treasuries, commodities and currencies.

We're able to come up with much more in-depth stuff, says Fastook. We can drill down here even more deeply. So the investor will be able to sit there and watch this and get used to drawing their eye to the right panel.

CNBC HD+ will also take streaming video from its Website, CNBC.com, and place it in a dedicated box in the lower right corner of the screen (the + in the new network's name is actually a tie-in to the Web subscription product CNBC Plus). Viewers who are interested in the Web video will be able to listen to the associated audio by simply pressing the SAP (Secondary Audio Program) button on their remote, as CNBC HD+ will transmit the Web audio as a secondary audio stream. The Web audio option should be a handy feature for investors trying to follow lengthy Federal Reserve briefings, Congressional hearings and the like.

All of CNBC's Business Day programs will be offered on CNBC HD+ including Squawk Box, Squawk on the Street, The Call, Power Lunch, Street Signs, Closing Bell w/ Maria Bartiromo and Kudlow & Company. Beginning next year, CNBC plans to produce its documentaries in high-definition. Those will be offered on CNBC HD+ in full-screen HD, says Fastook, with standard graphics bars running along the top and bottom of the screen.

CNBC started planning for the HD service about a year ago, before DirecTV formalized its HD expansion plans, as it recognized that a growing percentage of its viewers were adopting high-definition displays in their living rooms and offices and on the trading floor. Initially, the network thought about offering a center-cut 4:3 picture with graphic sidebars, but the limited space meant the graphics were too small to be of any value. That's when CNBC shifted its strategy to the left side of the screen.

By sliding over, we really got a nice chunk of real estate to be able to put those indices and that in-depth data, says Fastook.

CNBC HD+'s graphic-intensive production strategy is also cost-effective. Because the network isn't buying new HD cameras, upgrading sets for widescreen camera positions, or creating a dedicated HD control room, the HD launch only represents about a $3 million investmentless than many local stations have spent to launch HD newscasts.

http://broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6478890.html

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post #2 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 05:57 AM
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I suggested this a few years ago, for news and info channels. I'm not sure it's such a bad idea.

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post #3 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 06:00 AM
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Good for them. We don't really need to see CNBC programming in 16:9, and they've found a nice use for the extra screen space.

I know traditionalists seem to think that all HD should be 16:9, but there's really no point on programming with one person in the middle of the screen and tons of wasted space to either side. I'd be interested to see sports news programs take this approach.
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post #4 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 06:11 AM
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Do I understand this correctly....the PQ will not be HD?

I love the idea of having more information on the screen, but I still want to see CNBC use HD equipment and improve the PQ.
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post #5 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark73 View Post

Do I understand this correctly....the PQ will not be HD?

Correct. The 4:3 images will be upconverted to HD, but that does not always mean a bad result. For an example of what a good upconversion looks like, see any number of FOX programs, including FOX Sunday News and the FOX NFL pre-game show. Many uninitiated HD viewers confuse these programs with native HDTV.

What is a question, is the graphics. If they are native HD, the overall result would be fine for most applications. I would strongly think in time CNBC will upgrade to full HD.

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post #6 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 08:05 AM
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This has nothing to do with PQ, only with money.

The entire conversion costs CNBC about $3 million and, as the B&C story notes, most local TV stations pay more for that when they convert their news operation.

It may or may not end up being acceptable PQ. But is is very acceptable to the GE bean counters and their foolish NBC 2.0 cost-cutting strategy.

This bare bones and cheap approach is NOT the way to counter the challenge from Fox Business Channel.
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post #7 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 09:19 AM
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I think they are on to something by not using the entire frame for talking heads, but in studio shots should still be in HD.

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post #8 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 09:25 AM
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This could be a nice phase in. CNBC had several options when converting to HD, and this is definitely something their viewers will enjoy. (After all, don't most people watch this for stock info and analysis?)

I'm thinking this will buy them some time to convert news and studios over to HD. I'm curious as to how the final result will look.

Another option for CNBC would have simply been to crop the SD video to 16:9. The graphics on the current 4:3 setup do this almost perfectly.



Will this be part of Wednesday's launch or later on?
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post #9 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Swanni's latest call to arms:

Quote:


Folks, when CNBC HD+ launches, don't watch it. Instead, send a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation of how CNBC HD can call itself HD when it's not in HD.

We'll need the FTC to investigate because you know that CNBC won't investigate itself.

http://www.tvpredictions.com/cnbcfraud091707.htm

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post #10 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 10:08 AM
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what a crock, they are using the additional space for graphics and tickers.

It's time to give props to WLNS for the HD crawl generator!!!

Now we need WHTV to go HD and Lansing's CW to get a separate transmitter so it isn't a digital sub.
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post #11 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 10:11 AM
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I wouldn't mind this so much if they didn't actually call it HD. If it was CNBC-ED, then I'd be ok with everything.

This channel is just going to mainly be seen on all those LCD/Plasma displays that are hanging in the halls of corporate buildings anyway. Its not really a big need to for true HD there, just needs to look better than the stretched SD that likely is in use now.

Going to sign up for Dish Network? PM me for a ClubDish referral number that will give you a $50 credit on your first bill.
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post #12 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CycloneGT View Post

I wouldn't mind this so much if they didn't actually call it HD. If it was CNBC-ED, then I'd be ok with everything.

Exactly. But what they're doing is misleading on the surface. The channel will be called CNBC HD+ but there won't be any HD coming out of their NJ studios. Crazy!

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post #13 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 10:33 AM
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CNBC is one of the lowest rated news-related channels when compared to other channels. I am totally against all the garbage network executives keep adding to their programs. If I want to watch the news, I don't want to be interrupted with all the moving tickers and banners and pop ups and any other obnoxious and intrusive distractions network executives dream up. Yes it's just an information channel, but, where does it end. We are seeing this crap infringing on many other network programs, even premium-pay channels like Showtime. I think Lewis Black hit the head on the nail in his monologue at the Emmys. Kudos to him for saying what he believes. I hope network executives hear the message. We don't want all this crap interfering with our enjoyment of the programming we are watching. The bigger question is...do network executives really care what we think or want?

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post #14 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 10:53 AM
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In my opinion, this is a shame. Bloomberg runs its channel this way, and I always hated it. In fact, I refuse to watch it because its just too busy.
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post #15 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 11:01 AM
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whats going on with MSNBC HD

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post #16 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 11:30 AM
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We do EXACTLY the same thing with KSL WeatherPlus. We insert the NBC WeatherPlus (with local content included) on the left, and add a sponsored "Community Calendar" on the right.

BUT....we do it in 16:9 Standard-Definition (480i WS). It looks fine, and it doesn't hog bandwidth like an "HD" signal. Even the Digital Cable folks take the feed that way.

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post #17 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richiephx View Post

I am totally against all the garbage network executives keep adding to their programs.
...
...do network executives really care what we think or want?

To me the real question is why do the "news" channels present garbage instead of news.
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post #18 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

We do EXACTLY the same thing with KSL WeatherPlus. We insert the NBC WeatherPlus (with local content included) on the left, and add a sponsored "Community Calendar" on the right.

BUT....we do it in 16:9 Standard-Definition (480i WS). It looks fine, and it doesn't hog bandwidth like an "HD" signal. Even the Digital Cable folks take the feed that way.

The difference is you don't call it HD.

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post #19 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 12:26 PM
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the in-studio footage won't be HD but there's no denying that the final product will be 1080i video featuring native 1080i graphics and tickers. Remember we're talking about CNBC here, the BUSINESS news channel, as opposed to general news like MSNBC. All those tickers are convenient and have a purpose. Being in HD they can make the text smaller and still quite readable. If I am ever in the situation where I would need to watch CNBC, I would very much prefer to see the HD version.

If you read the description, the studio video is not the dominant material being displayed anyway. It will be a 4:3 image crammed into the left side of the screen with a ticker above, a large ticker below, and additional info on the right side of the screen. SD studio footage at this size will probably look very nice crammed into the small available space.
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post #20 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GutBomb View Post

the in-studio footage won't be HD but there's no denying that the final product will be 1080i video featuring native 1080i graphics and tickers.

If the in-studio footage won't be HD, how the end product (the picture you see on your tv) going to be 1080i video? The guy said they will not have any hd cameras and he said it will be an upconvert from 480i. An upconverted 480i signal is not HD. That would be equal to saying that someone with a 480p upconverting dvd player is actually watching a HD picture when the user selects upconvert. They're not watching the same picture that you would get by watching a HD-DVD player or a Blu Ray dvd player.

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post #21 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 12:56 PM
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They should call it CNBC Widescreen. Our PBS station shows Widescreen that is not HD and that is what they call it, Widescreen.

There are too many companies trying to cash in on the HD label. They are going to create a mess. HD will cease to have any meaning. Any companies that feel there is value in the high image quality of HD should get together and create a registered logo that can be used to identify content that meets a strict set of quality guidelines. I suspect the term HD can no longer be registered for this purpose. Something like RealHD, TrueHD, CertifiedHD, MaxHD, or other term with a logo would work.
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post #22 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Correct. The 4:3 images will be upconverted to HD, but that does not always mean a bad result. For an example of what a good upconversion looks like, see any number of FOX programs, including FOX Sunday News and the FOX NFL pre-game show. Many uninitiated HD viewers confuse these programs with native HDTV.

What is a question, is the graphics. If they are native HD, the overall result would be fine for most applications. I would strongly think in time CNBC will upgrade to full HD.

Wait. I'm not even an uninitiated HD viewer. Fox News Sunday is not HD?
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post #23 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

I suggested this a few years ago, for news and info channels. I'm not sure it's such a bad idea.

Comments?

It will look like the Bloomberg Channel with better resolution.

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post #24 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoe7890 View Post

It will look like the Bloomberg Channel with better resolution.

If it looks like Bloomberg I won't watch anymore no matter how nice Becky Quick looks.

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post #25 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoe7890 View Post

It will look like the Bloomberg Channel with better resolution.

JDoe wrote exactly what I was thinking. I watch both CNBC and Bloomburg, I like the extra information Bloomburg provides though I like the personalities (like Maria) on CNBC better.

From the info I see in this thread, the graphics will not be in HD, but even if upconverted to 1080i they should be fine. Business channels don't have a lot of footballs flying across the screen.

I hope Dish gets the new and improved version when available. (I just re-upped with Dish.)

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post #26 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 02:02 PM
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ABC did the same thing during their election coverage - nothing new. Here's a link mentioning it. Did Swanni call for a Federal Trade Commission investigation of ABC?
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post #27 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 03:24 PM
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By their logic, my local news has been in HDTV for years!

And it even has black bars on the left and right to help keep you focused on the action.

At least the graphics will be HD.
(If they aren't, where exactly is that $3m going? )
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post #28 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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post #29 of 113 Old 09-17-2007, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzie View Post

From the info I see in this thread, the graphics will not be in HD

The graphics will be in HD. The only part that will be SD is the box on the left containing the talking head. All of the info graphics will be HD.
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post #30 of 113 Old 09-18-2007, 06:48 AM
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Yes that's what I've been trying to say. If you classify that "EVERY PIECE OF THE PICTURE HAS TO BE HD ALL THE TIME" to be considered HD, then nothing we watch on TV is really HD since the commercials are not, some replays in football games are not, many HD presentations are HD with some elements but have to upconvert other elements and that is exactly what is going on here. the graphics are HD AND NOT UPCONVERTED. It's just the talking head that is upconverted.

I can't understand how anyone would consider it not HD.
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