Oklahoma Not (HD) OK

Dennis Whiteman founded HDTVOK. com about a year ago to educate consumers in Oklahoma about the benefits of high definition television. Since then, the site has become a forum of sorts for those in the state who own HDTV sets and receivers. People trade tips about the best equipment brands, alert one another to problems with feeds, and vent their frustration over the piddling amount of high definition programming available in Oklahoma. This last issue is of special concern to Whiteman, who says by dragging their feet on providing HD programming broadcasters in his state are cheating consumers who've invested thousands of dollars in HDTV equipment.

According to the FCC and NAB, there are six stations currently operating digitally in Oklahoma: KFOR (NBC) and KSBI in Oklahoma City; KJRH (NBC), KTPX (Paxson), and KOTV (CBS) in Tulsa; and KXII (CBS) in Sherman, TX/Ada, OK. Not bad for a state better known for being the setting of a Broadway show than a high-tech innovator. But the FCC and NAB are talking about DTV, not HD.

Although KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, has begun passing through HD programming, Whiteman says most of the other stations in his market have a long way to go. "The CBS and ABC affiliates are doing nothing," he said. "In fact, I received an email from the general manager of the CBS affiliate, and he said that they were not going to do anything in HD. They would get on the air to meet the FCC requirements, but they weren't going to carry any of CBS's programming until at least 5% of the sets in the market were HD. And youâre never going to get 5% if there's no programming."

By the time this is published, Whiteman may have less of a grievance÷at least with KOCO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Oklahoma City. At press time, General Manager Brent Hensley was hoping to have a digital signal up and running by November 1, and planned to pass through the ABC network's HD programming. But Whiteman shouldnât expect anything anytime soon from KWTW, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City. It has yet to receive its digital construction permit from the FCC.

At least Whiteman doesn't live in Tulsa, the other major television market in Oklahoma. There, of all the major network affiliates, only KJRH, an NBC affiliate, offers HD programming. And that's only because it upconverts all its programming to 1080i, maintaining the 4:3 aspect ratio, for pseudo-HD.