‘NewsHour’ goes live in HD

“The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” launched in HD yesterday after the completion of a major portion of an upgrade to the WETA production center.

“The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” aired in HD for the first time Monday, signaling a major step for WETA and PBS and the on-time completion of a key phase in the comprehensive HD upgrade of the WETA production center.

The new HD facility at WETA, located just outside Washington, D.C., was designed, planned and integrated by Communications Engineering (CEI) of Newington, VA.

The project, featuring new HD control rooms and edit suites, began in the second quarter of this year with a target date of Dec. 17 for the first live HD broadcast of “NewsHour.” “NewsHour,” seen five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country, is the first live, regularly scheduled PBS program to be broadcast in HD.

Careful planning and coordination with WETA allowed CEI to complete this phase of an extensive upgrade for the WETA production center, as well as conduct testing and training, in time for the first scheduled live broadcast.

In addition to the regular evening broadcast, the “NewsHour” staff and PBS will produce about 24 hours of live, HD primetime coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention from Denver (Aug. 25-28) and the Republican National Convention from St. Paul, MN (Sept. 1-4).

The state-of-the-art production facility includes a new HD video control room, featuring a Sony MVS8000A switcher; a new digital audio control room featuring an SSL C100 5.1 surround-sound console; six new Sony HDC1000LW HD studio cameras; Fujinon lenses; three upgraded Avid HD edit suites; an expanded Avid Unity storage system; four Sony XDCAM HD field camera systems; two Sony XDCAM HD studio decks; expanded Thomson Grass Valley HD routers; a BARCO multiple rear-projection display wall; and QC/QA workstations.

For more information, visit www.commeng.com and www.weta.org.