“Evening News” goes HD, although not smoothly

August 4, 2008

Beginning last week, the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” began broadcasting in the 1080i HD formats for those that have compatible sets in their homes.

Though the picture looked fine, the initial broadcast was marred by audio glitches. Reports said that many CBS affiliates, unable to fix the problem quickly, were forced to switch back to the SD broadcast for the first half of the program.

Viewers in Washington, D.C., and Chattanooga, TN, didn’t have audio at the beginning of the broadcast, while stations in other major markets showed SD video for the first half of the newscast, “TVNewser” reported. The audio problem was fixed, and the HD feed was fully restored midway through the broadcast.

Apparently there was an issue with the Dolby Digital audio feed during the first 11 minutes of the broadcast’s East Coast feed. The problem was caused by the failure of a metadata inserter.

The show is now being produced in a new HD control room, called “CR47HD,” complete with a Sony MVS-8000G production switcher, Sony and Ikegami LCD monitors, an Evertz MVP multiviewer and Evertz 162 x 162 HD/SD router. The main Evening News Studio 47 is equipped with eight Sony HDC-1400 studio cameras with Canon lenses, mounted on Vinten robotic pedestals. The studio also uses four Sony HDC-X310 POV cameras equipped with Canon lenses. The entire HD infrastructure was put together over the past 18 months by CBS engineers, led by Frank M. Governale, vice president of operations at CBS News.

In closing her inaugural HD broadcast on Monday, July 28, Couric said this of HD’s high resolution: “It’s so good you can almost see what I’m thinking — but not quite.”

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