WGBA to switch to HD before Olympics

AJBlodgett's picture
AJBlodgett's picture
Appleton, WI

I sent an email to Joe Poss, the general manager, again today asking when they would be switching to HD newscasts. He replied saying, "NBC26 will be making the investment in high definition between now and the 2012 Olympics. Have a good day and we appreciate your viewership."

Posted April 6, 2012 3:28pm in
TvBoy's picture

That's funny, I heard they

That's funny, I heard they are doing some sort of 16x9 stretch, but it WON'T be an HD picture until next January. That sounds about right for this crappy place. They did get their HD gear I guess. Good for the multi media reporters anyway.

We shall see.

Megamedia's picture

There is no stretch when you

There is no stretch when you go 16 by 9. It is true 16 by 9. Almost a million dollars worth of studio cameras, new control room equipment and new HD cameras are in play. With more to come.
The only stretch is with file video that is in SD. This happens at every station. Your choice is to have your 4 by 3 video with black sides or stretch it.
If you have not been through the process of switching a station from SD to HD you have no idea how much time, effort and money it takes.

AJBlodgett's picture

They really need to start

They really need to start making their commercials in HD. Either they squeeze a 16x9 picture into 4x3 picture, a 16x9 picture is letter-boxed into a 4x3 picture, or they don't even make the picture 16x9. Until they have this done, they really are not done with their upgrades.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

May not be "stretched" 16x9,

May not be "stretched" 16x9, but it still doesn't look like the others in the market that have gone HD. If WGBA went "full HD" in their newscasts -- and I have no first person verification that they did or did not -- it certainly doesn't look "HD" to me.

There is a very noticeable difference in sharpness and clarity between ENG package shots and studio shots. The graphics packages look great, but the cameras definitely have a muddled quality to them. There's a difference in clarity between the lower-thirds and the camera... definitely. Again, that's similar to what I always noticed from their studio cameras when they were in SD. Something just looked "off" about their studio camera picture. Almost pixelated or badly upscaled. Possibly even some sort of interlacing. Don't know for sure, but it's always been apparent. Milwaukee segments definitely suffered from this too, and those are VERY apparent in this new 16x9 format.

Cold and flat as it may be, you look at the picture on WBAY's newscasts and you can tell they're in HD. Same with WFRV. I'll be very curious to see WLUK's launch next week. If it's anything like their promo/commercial shoots, I'll be quite impressed.

AJBlodgett's picture

And then there is that blue

And then there is that blue wall behind their anchors that they call a "set." I'm sorry, but that is just unacceptable.

AJBlodgett's picture

Well that was fast...I turned

Well that was fast...I turned on the news on NBC26 (mainly because nothing else was on) and I discovered that NBC26 is already in HD.

I should point out that it isn't a very well put together broadcast. The graphics seem to be stretched out and they still have their old time & temperature graphic making it look really awkward sitting there.

I'm hoping that the go into their graphics system and edit it a little to make it look a little bit nicer on screen.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

I DVR'ed the 5:00 PM newscast

I DVR'ed the 5:00 PM newscast tonight, and what little I could see of it (my reception on 26 & 32 has been getting progressively weaker this spring) looked terrible.

To call it an HD newscast is really only half right. The graphics (or most of them at least) may be HD, but much of the newscast is still SD stretched. Now I've always said that, pre-HD, NBC26's newscasts looked the worst in the market. Their studio shots always had a muddled picture quality to me. If I'm wrong and their studio is running HD cameras, they're just as terrible as the old ones. That said, the story packages are being shot in HD and look much better. You DO notice the difference from the studio to remote shots. The weather, which I suspect was trucked in from Milwaukee, also looked like a poor stretch and/or pan job.

I can't say with certainty, but if this is what they call an HD newscast, I'd say they have the worst looking one in the market. If I was them, given their rep, I would have just waited to do a full launch. They're clearly trying to best WLUK, but in the end I think WLUK is going to run circles around them -- and likely everyone else. I've seen portions of WLUK's new set. If the rest of the studio fleshes out like what I've seen, WLUK will be stunning. What I've seen so far looks, to me, like major market quality. Some of it I'd even qualify as national news quality. I'm way more impressed than what I've seen from WBAY. I think the things that bug me so much about WBAY's set will be done way better in WLUK's. (And if they continue to cut out to shots from their Content Center, it's going to ruin their aesthetic without some serious reconfiguration and/or lighting upgrades.)

TvBoy's picture

Does any of this really

Does any of this really surprise anyone? They are still the joke of the tv market.

FAKE HD?, come on!

TvBoy's picture

Oh, they are not switching to

Oh, they are not switching to "Real" HD until next year BTW.

TvBoy's picture

They should just shut that

They should just shut that newsroom down. Seriously.

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