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CNBC Going Widescreen, but is it HD?

NBC Universal’s business outlet, CNBC, is ready to take full advantage of HD’s 16:9 aspect ratio when it sort of jumps to HD in October—like MGM HD, as part of DirecTV’s expanded HD offerings. Yet CNBC’s approach to HD formatting may be unique among HD converts.

Although NBCU announced its HD intentions for CNBC months ago, it was only this week that CNBC HD+ began giving any indication of what style and format its HD simulcast might take.

And as it turns out, there may be less than meets the eye when it comes to actual HD technology.

According to CNBC, while the network plans to use the wider HD-like aspect ratio to place more text and graphics to one side of the screen (a necessity for any business broadcast), its studio cameras’ aspect ratio will remain 4:3—and for now that video content will be “upconverted” from CNBC’s SD feed. (NBCU’s HD format of choice is 1080i.)

Thus, the CNBC HD+ broadcasts will not be originating any HD studio or field video, per se, an NBCU spokesperson has confirmed to HD Notebook.