KLAS Local News Goes HD in Vegas

Considering it has been home to some of the biggest technology shows in the world each year, it's probably about time the Las Vegas market began providing some local broadcast content in HD: KLAS-TV is making the transition for all its local newscasts this week, becoming the first Nevada broadcaster to make the techno-leap.

The broadcaster told the Las Vegas Sun it is spending more than $1 million on new HD equipment, including editing suites, cameras and lenses, as well as sprucing up its existing sets for HD and that all-telling 16:9 aspect ratio. The station is a CBS affiliate and, therefore, its digital channel is airing content in 1080i.

Apart from being the first, KLAS's transition to local HD appears to make good business sense in the market, which is ahead of nearly every other DMA in the U.S. when it comes to early-adopter enthusiasm by residents: Nielsen Media Research lists Las Vegas as the second-highest market nationally for the number of HD sets and DVRs owned, as well as for the popularity of cable VOD. According to KLAS, as many as 200,000 HD sets may already be in use in the Las Vegas Valley, which would translate into more than a half-million viewers.

KLAS is hoping that leading the way to local HD content could give it a jump on the competition in both the short- and long-term. According to the Sun, the station's Vice President for News, Bob Stoldal, told the KLAS staff gathered on the updated news set, "We need to be there, we need to be there first, and we need to be learning how to do this while the other guys are still sitting around."