Originally Posted by VARTV
Why every station doesn't jump on HD news when money is tight...
That is a good part of it. Most if not all stations have come to the realization that HD is a great marketing tool to get a leg up on the competition, if you are first. Once a station has gone HD in a market, who cares or knows who is second? And after a while who remembers who was first? Beyond that, it is a money issue. Every station knows that they will have to be HD in the future. The viewers will demand it. It isn't an IF anymore, it is a WHEN and a HOW and it is a market by market thing. Color took 25 years to become dominate. HD has only been around for 12 years and there are more HD sets in homes now than were color sets at the same time and while over 90% of network programming is in HD now, at the same time, color programs were less than 40% and mostly on NBC only. It can be argued that the broadcasters are basically there now and getting better, it is the average viewer that is still in 1980's technology. When they get caught up, things will be forced to change. I looked at the HD News station list in the Programming section of AVS and in the Top 50 markets, every market now has at least one 16:9 SD news available and in all but the 2 or 3 markets HD news is available with a majority having more than one HD news station. In the next 50, many markets have HD news and little to no 16:9 SD news. It surprised me.
At this point, beyond marketing, the cost involved isn't always worth it for a local station because, as Nielsen points out, most viewing is still in in SD, even on a HD set. Most stations are converting to HD news in steps as equipment is replaced because of the cost. In my own stations case, had we not been moving in steps, when it came time to do it, it would have been cost prohibited. Not that it was cheap the way we did it. It was still in the millions, just not as many millions!
There comes a tipping point when it just makes sense to do it and spend the money. That is the way it was for us. I suspect many stations are in the same boat.
We went 16:9 SD with no intentions of going HD within the following two years. Within 3 months, we began to see how it made sense to just go ahead and finish it now and not wait any longer; so we were only 16:9 SD for exactly 365 days. But again, we already had enough of the HD infrastructure in place to do it without crippling the station financially, an advantage some stations may not have. Had the infrastructure not been there (we were already digital in Master Control and easily upgradable to HD and in Production Control where studio cameras were already HD, just run in SD mode), we would still be 16:9 SD today moving toward HD one piece of equipment at a time. As you know, since you keep up with my group because of group owned stations in Norfolk and Richmond, many of the smaller stations in our group still haven't converted to HD yet. Why? Infrastructure. Mostly analog infrastructure. We had to catch a feed the other day from one of the smaller stations on our corporate video network and the engineer there kept apologizing for the PQ because they were still 4:3 analog knowing we were HD.
At this point it is more dollar based than anything else. Yeah, if more people complained, then those limited dollars would be allocated accordingly but until that happens......