On Thursday, Nov. 2, KPNX-DT, the NBC affiliate in Mesa (Phoenix), became the first Arizona TV station to broadcast its local news in high-definition.
The station, the sixth Gannet station to convert to HD news broadcasts, made the move in 72 days (less than three months), according to KPNX news director Mark Casey. This included a new 4000sq ft set, about twice the size of the old set, to accommodate HDTV’s wider aspect ratio.
Camera operators have had to learn to frame shots differently to take advantage of HDTV’s 16:9 aspect ratio. There’s even an HD ENG helicopter.
The HDTV broadcasts are the latest change that KPNX has made in the past few years. Other moves included adding an all-weather channel, Spanish-language news translations and creating original news programming for the Internet.
Station management said viewers who didn’t have HDTV sets would still see a noticeable improvement.