NECN Expects News Ratings Boost From HD

While it's hardly a given that jumping to HD will automatically provide a long-term ratings boost to a local, growing local newscasts to 720p or 1080i transmissions typically requires new sets, graphics and other upgrades, which all seem to breathe new life into traditional programming. New England Cable News (NECN) said that its conversion to HD is the biggest change it's made in more than a decade, and hopes that the effort will be rewarded with more viewers.

NECN is marking its conversion by updating its set and its animated logo, among other things, and deploying an upgraded weather tracking system (a familiar add-on for many broadcasters going local HD) in a region where weather forecasts are particularly important, especially during winter months. NECN is fully owned by Comcast, which accelerated the channel's HD upgrade.

"It's the next step in the evolution of NECN,'' Bill Bridgen, NECN general manager, told the Boston Globe.

NECN now becomes the last major outlet in the Boston region (DMA 7) to convert its local news to HD. WCVB-TV, WHDH-TV, WBZ-TV and WFXT-TV have already made the local HD leap, starting back in 2007.