Pair of smaller TV stations finds affordable ways to transition to local HD news

As TV stations around the country transition local news operations to HD architectures, many are finding that broadcasting their news in HD is no longer merely a point of pride; it’s becoming necessary to compete.

Even smaller-market TV stations are taking on HD to remain competitive. KYTX-TV, in Tyler, TX, and KMSB-TV, in Tucson, AZ are two such stations. Both wanted to take a lead in offering high-quality, professional news broadcasts, but faced doing so with budgets typical of stations in small markets.

To accomplish their mission, both turned to NewsFlow from Video Technics. NewsFlow makes possible an end-to-end, file-based solution that integrates with existing newsroom systems and nonlinear editor platforms. For the Tyler station, it provided an affordable means to take on the dual transition of moving to a file-based workflow and supporting HD local news production.

The installation at KYTX includes proxy browsing, low-res editing and MOS playback support with the newsroom computer system, said Mark Rivers, Video Technics president and CEO. The station also uses the company’s NLE plug-in support for Adobe CS4 and a real-time HD upconversion feature using the Video Technics Apella HDS video server. The station shoots with JVC GY-HD250 ProHD cameras in the field and records to the DR-HD100 hard disk recorder, which integrates seamlessly into the new HD news production workflow, he added.

The London Broadcasting station serves Tyler, Longview, Nacogdoches and Lufkin, TX, and produces 28 hours of weekly news programming, including a daily morning news show, “CBS19 This Morning,” and a nightly program, “KYTX CBS 19 Ten at 10.” KYTX made the HD switch April 23, 2009.

Moe Strout, director of engineering for London Broadcasting, identified the system’s ability to do up/down/crossconversion as an important strength. “We can use any archived SD video because it upconverts on the fly on playout,” he said.

For KMSB, the path to HD content started with the use of the Apella SDS. “We wanted the ability to easily upgrade to HD at the right time for us,” said Walcott Denison III, station director of technology. A simple software-only change upgraded the system to HD with no need for additional hardware, he added.

KMSB transitioned to a straightforward news workflow and wanted to use its existing tools, including the Grass Valley EDIUS nonlinear editor, and Avid iNews in the newsroom. The ability to use the VT Proxy Editor to review raw media and proof edited content directly on the newsroom desktop was important.

With NewsFlow, low-resolution proxies require 1Mb/s bandwidth and run on most newsroom systems with no additional hardware costs.

The Belo-owned KMSB plans to unveil a new four-hour local morning news program, “Fox 11 Daybreak Tucson,” which will air from 5 to 9 weekday mornings this fall, in addition to its existing 9 p.m. newscast hour. The station also has begun discussing building out its Video Technics-based news production infrastructure to accommodate anticipated growth next year.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.