First noticed it yesterday on WXFV-HD (868) but didn't check the non-HD channel (6 in Utica); happening on both at the moment (might be my imagination but seems slightly less out of sync on 6). Length is in the vicinity of a satellite delay.
I think this is a good idea if the station isn't ready to go HD yet. I hate watching pillarboxed content on my HD set.
That's what we concluded - we should be providing the very best picture possible, even if it isn't "true" HD. Four out of our 7 studio cameras could already do 16:9 mode in SD, so we bought 3 new HD studio cameras (running in SD 16:9 at the moment) to replace the 3 older ones. The Panasonic P2 cameras used for news gathering were easily switched to 16:9.
I knew all along that savvy viewers would recognize it wasn't "true" HD, but I knew that if we could preserve the sharpness of the SD cameras by removing all remaining analog sections of the air chain, then it would look pretty good. With the exception of some satellite-delivered shots, and live truck pictures, most of what you see travels a digital-only signal path through the entire plant.
Some people have written or called to say that we're lying to the public, misleading them into thinking we're broadcasting HD news. Well, we purposely don't call it HD. The term we settled on is "enhanced widescreen." It definitely is enhanced, it definitely is widescreen. And, you have to be watching our HD channel (OTA 3.1, cable 863, FiOS 503, DishTV, DirecTV) to see it.
Further, people viewing a 40" or less HDTV from a "normal" viewing distance will have a hard time telling that it is NOT native HD. If you get up close to your TV and know what you're looking for, of course you can tell. We won't have the budget to renovate TWO control rooms for native HD for another year or two, so this was a logical evolutionary step to get the best, widescreen picture out there that we possibly could.