NewsHour’s Transition to Double PBS’s HD Hours

December 12, 2007
It may only be one program, but when it happens to be a news show that airs every weeknight of the year, those 260 annual hours of content add up to a lot of HD. In the case of the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” on PBS, the move to HD next Monday evening, Dec. 17, will wind up doubling the total number of hours of HD content available to its mainstream audiences for the entire national network. PBS first began airing periodic specials in HD in late 1998.

The program’s transition is being made possible with completion of a state-of-the-art control room and a new set optimized for HD widescreen and lighting at the program’s home base, WETA-TV in Arlington, Va. A PBS flagship station, WETA-TV co-produces the program with another flagship, WNET-TV (New York), and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

The new infrastructure, in part, was funded by a grant from the federal government’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, according to the NewsHour. Starting next week, PBS (also based in Arlington) will offer its member stations simultaneous HD and SD letterbox feeds of the NewsHour.

Late next summer, the NewsHour and PBS will co-produce up to two dozen hours of live primetime coverage in HD of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver (Aug. 25-28) and the Republican confab in St. Paul, Minn. (Sept. 1-4).

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