Originally Posted by atp1313
I don't mean to sound condescending...I simply don't know the answer to this, but...
If I can record HD programming via OTA or through my Sat (D*) and play it at a later time,wouldn't you think that the networks/affiliates would have at least
the same capabilities? And can't they then retransmit that saved signal/program/recording in the same manner in which it was received?
I'm as frustrated as all of you about the state of HD (re)broadcast in the LowCountry, and as a consumer don't wish to defend them, but ...
Keep in mind the cost of professional grade hardware. To go digital has been a multi-million dollar investment for each station just for transmission equipment, with very little upfront return. When we toured WCSC last year (we need to do this again, perhaps at one of the other stations, especially WCBD!), they had an HD tape unit in the equipment room for limited recording and playback, but it was grossly expensive ($10K?), and it wasn't integrated into their control room systems. And I'll bet almost anything (I have nothing, so that's easy!) that WCSC is the most advanced HD operation in Charleston. Almost all of their syndicated programming, and the 7:00 hour is definitely that, is recorded to tape and played back on overgrown VCRs in the master control room. Commericials and promos are on disk, but not the programs. To get all of that HD means replacing everything - cameras, software, production suites, playback servers, switchers, control boards, even the monitors they use. WCBD may actually be ahead of the others because their studios and control room are the newest, but remember these guys buy equipment with 10-25 year life expectancy.
What you see with all of our stations for HD is a simple switch between an HD satellite feed and the SD output of their analog control. This means that to use any of the local origination material (commercials, graphics, anything more than a logo) they need to switch to SD. They all use automation systems to run their control rooms (basically a big playlist system), with the operator accounting for exceptions. The automation system, at least at WCSC, includes flags for switching from the HD to the SD and back, and sometimes those flags don't get set properly and the operator has to manually do the switch.
I've seen WCIV and WCSC's control rooms - in both cases the HD monitoring is a monitor over to the side, and not a widescreen one! I'm not sure they even look at the HD air signal - I know WCIV only monitors the satellite feed. The sound that the operator listens to is usually from the analog side; they have a display for the HD sound that looks like a combination of an oscilliscope and a VU meter; I doubt they would visually notice the short drops that we experience on the HD side.
Since they run both feeds through one room with one operator, my guess is that this will not significantly improve until 2009!
The best hope for quality monitoring is the station employees themselves, who may
have HD equipment at home and therefore experience the same issues we do.
Another thought - the MOST important thing to all of these guys is the commercials
. They are the bread and butter of the stations. Most commercial production doesn't seem to be HD. If that gets pushed to HD, the rest of the operation should follow.
(I don't work for any of the stations, but am just an A/V and computer geek.)