ESPNEWS launches in HD

Coming up on the fifth anniversary of its official HD launch, ESPNEWS, the all-sports news TV network, will debut a new HD studio and an entire new look on Sunday, March 30, with the first hour simulcast on ESPN HD. In addition, twice later that day, ESPNEWS HD will be simulcast for 30 minutes on ESPN2 HD. The debut of the new set, graphics and music will coincide with that night’s start of the MLB season on ESPN2 HD at 8 p.m. EST.

One notable innovation in the 16 x 9 HD delivery of ESPNEWS is the HD sideline graphic, which will wrap around the top, left and bottom of the screen for HD viewers. This will allow for additional real-time information — including news, scores, stats, headshots, standings and more — to be displayed while still delivering 16 x 9 HD video in the remaining space.

The existing “bottom line” on the network’s SD channel has also been redesigned to display additional text, headshots and graphics. It will continue to reside at the bottom edge of the screen.

The new studio is larger than the one it replaces, with two primary desks to accommodate up to four or five people, respectively. A new area has been designed for anchor standups, giving ESPNEWS HD much more flexibility in its presentation. The backdrop of the set is ESPN’s new multimedia newsroom, just as the former set was positioned in the old newsroom.

Viewers will also notice changes to the network’s on-air look and feel. The current orange and red color scheme is being replaced by shades of steel blue supplemented by yellow and red. The redesigned animation package features new show openers and other signature elements. It also features real-time automation, which populates ESPNEWS HD with the latest up-to-the-second scores and statistics.

ESPN HD was launched March 30, 2003, and reaches almost 17 million subscribers; it is available to almost 94 million homes. ESPN2 HD debuted Jan. 5, 2005; it reaches more than 12 million subscribers and is available to more than 81 million homes. This year, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD will deliver more than 12,000 hours in the 720p HD format.

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