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KABC's Aerial Highway Coverage Goes HD

Los Angeles viewers are used to watching live coverage of police chases from traffic and news copters hovering high above the streets and highways of the nation's second-largest market. So perhaps it makes sense that a local station's initial entry into HD would also come from high above. KABC is employing the first HD-equipped aircraft in the market (and apparently only the second one in use nationally) equipped with HD cameras.

Air7HD, as it is dubbed by the ABC affiliate, is being leased from Helinet Aviation Services. (Two other copters the station leases are SD-equipped.) KABC is educating its audience about the specific advantages of HD technology, what makes it superior to standard TV, and what consumers have to do to fully appreciate the video-audio benefits (in this case) of 720p. The only other HD-equipped copter believed to be in use by a local station in a large market hovers above Denver for KUSA.
Ironically, news camera operators occasionally have to pull back on their subjects and intentionally not show too much detail because live coverage can sometimes produce graphic scenes--such as an incident a few days ago when a suspect was shot to death in full view of news cameras while he apparently reached for a second weapon to fire on police. However, more often that not, greater detail and a wider aspect ratio should enhance the usefulness of traffic reports in highway-laden L.A., and the visual appeal of the law in hot pursuit of the bad guys.