Originally Posted by ivorygate
I guess I don't understand this "flip the HD switch" business. Does all of the 4:3 content in the world have to be re-encoded?
As far as I know, and I may be COMPLETELY wrong with this, as I haven't been in a master control booth, ever, this is what it's about:
There's a National Feed, which comes down in HD, and there's a Local Feed, which, in $inclair's case, is in SD.
In order to air local commercials, local news updates, and other local syndicated programming (all of the infomercials that KFXA runs on the weekends), someone in Master Control has to switch from the National Feed to the Local Feed. In order to watch the National Feed in High Def, they need to switch back to the National Feed, otherwise, it's just the Local Feed, which is a stereo-only, 4:3 version of the National Feed.
They also have to make sure that the audio encoding equipment is functioning properly, so that they're actually sending out the full 5.1 channel audio feed, but that's a separate issue.
So, the "solution" in this case is to upgrade all of the local equipment to HD-capable equipment, so that you don't have to literally babysit the equipment all the time JUST to be able to show local commercials during the times in national programming when local commercials are allowed. Not cheap, not necessarily easy, but not exactly so expensive that half the market hasn't already done it.
Or, just do what $inclair does, and just leave it on the local feed and flip the bird to your HD-capable customers. (If KFXA-Chief was still around, I'm sure we'd hear some explanation about how unreasonable we are to expect HD all the time, and some excuse about how the toilet backed up during the NASCAR race, and there's only one engineer in the building who has to take care of the plumbing, electrical, microwave, and vending machines, and how the toilet running was more important than an HD feed for "a couple of people to watch cars drive in circles".)
Kirk and Jarret, feel free to correct me, but the whole "local feed/national feed, with a big switch to manually throw between them" has been my understanding for a while now.