Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Anacortes, Wash
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Tom, here's what happens here:
KIRO/CBS: No local hdtv, but they manage to switch to CBS' ATSC feed at start and end of each program, unless there are two of them back-to-back, in which case they simply stay with CBS. CBS covers local breaks in cases like this with those hdtv promos. All NTSC upconverted to 1080i.
KING/NBC: Local hdtv news. They carry their own live local news in hdtv and NBC evening news on tape stretched to 16x9. Otherwise their digital channel shows tape loops. Carries no NTSC pictures, except news footage, which is stretched. 1080i.
KOMO/ABC: Local hdtv news. They carry full schedule. Some station promos and local commercials are in 16x9. No stretch on any 4x3 images. All new, complete digital production/news facilities. Local news crews use 16x9 (non-hdtv) digital cameras in the field. All NTSC is upconverted to 1080i.
KCTS/PBS: Reduced schedule 2pm-11pm showing hdtv travel tapes and PBS hdtv shows live. Sloppy (and noisy) switching between tapes/id still stores/net feeds. 1080i.
KCPQ/Fox: Broadcasts in 480i/14x9 (yes 14x9) cropped picture full time. They expect a new receiver this summer which will enable them to carry Fox 480p/16x9 live. But, their current digital switcher doesn't have capability of switching ATSC feed. Their 480i picture is very good, in my opinion.
The main problem for stations currently is getting digital switchers capable of seamlessly integrating NTSC and ATSC video streams. I suspect it will be another two years before many stations can handle this.