Cordillera Communications’ NBC affiliate says it should be ready to launch by May Sweeps.
KVOA Tucson, Ariz., will join the growing ranks of TV stations broadcasting news in HDTV, General Manager Gary Nielsen announced today.
If all goes well, he said, the service will be up and running in time for the May sweeps.
“We feel HD is the killer app for digital broadcasting,” Nielsen said. “I just bought a HD set six months ago. I’ll watch an ant on Discovery if it’s in HD.”
The conversion will include upgrading the NBC affiliate’s weathercasts to True View HD by WSI.
Unless a rival stations jumps in ahead of it, KVOA will be the first station in Tucson to offer HD news and Tucson will the second smallest market (DMA 70) with HD news. Reno, Nev., is the smallest (DMA 110).
“We are dedicated to giving our TV stations the tools they need to provide their viewers the highest quality local newscasts in their respective markets,” said Terrace Hurley, president of Cordillera Communications, owner of KVOA and 10 other TV stations.
“By supporting KVOA in its goal of becoming the first local news organization in Tucson to present all of its newscasts in high def, we believe News 4 will continue to lead the market and set the standard in Southern Arizona.”
About 30 others station have made the switch to HD. Like most, KVOA will shoot widescreen (16×9) SD video in the field and upconvert it for broadcast. “We want to wait for the next generation of HD field cameras before we go there.”
Nielsen said that he has seen upconverted video in news at other stations. “It looks pretty good.”
Andy Suk, VP of engineering and operations for Cordillera Communications, said he is using hardware from leading vendors for the multimillion conversion: Panasonic for HD studio cameras; Fujinon for HD lenses; Leitch for HD servers; and Ross for the HD production switcher.
Suk also said that Broadcast Design International is working with station executives to create an all-new, cutting edge news set.