KARE 11 announced Wednesday that it will begin broadcasting its news programs in High Definition beginning in late April.
KARE 11 will be the only station in Minneapolis/St. Paul to broadcast its news in high definition, and only one of a handful - about one dozen - nationwide.
Congress has mandated that all television stations convert from the current analog format to Digital Television -- with analog broadcasts ending by February of 2009.
With High Definition, the viewer will see high-resolution broadcasts with sharper, crisper and clearer pictures with enhanced audio regardless of whether the viewer has bought a high definition television.
For viewers with an HDTV set, the picture will be presented in wide-screen format -- what is called 16x9 format. But even for viewers without an HD set, the improved picture quality will be obvious. (Traditional TV is 4x3 format, or four inches wide for every three inches tall. HDTV is wider.)
"This investment is about giving all of our viewers the best possible viewing experience for local news. High Definition Television is the best technology ever for our viewers and we will lead the way in HD," KARE 11 president and general manager John Remes said.
The upgrade to HDTV requires KARE 11 News to upgrade to a new state-of-the-art news set.
"I think you're going to see some dramatic changes. The picture is spectacular and the sound is better," KARE 11 News Director Tom Lindner said. "The studio set is designed to showcase both our news-gathering and local weather."
HD television's expansion has been a bit of a chicken and egg proposition - consumers have held off on buying the HD sets until there was more programming, and some broadcasters have waited for more sets to be sold before committing to HD production.
"Instead of waiting for more homes to purchase HD sets, our choice is to lead the transition," Remes said. "Most of NBC's prime-time programming, more and more sporting events-including the return of the NFL to NBC are being presented in high-definition. The timing couldn't be better."
NBC will also air most of the Winter Olympics in High Definition at the same as the events are broadcast on regular TV. Many events from the 2004 Athens games were broadcast in HD -- but they were delayed at different times.