WABC Soft-Launches HD Local News

WABC-TV, the ABC station in the nation's largest DMA, New York City, quietly began airing its local news in 720p a few weeks ago. There was a lot of online chatter about the soft launch in the past few weeks from observers who were picking up the broadcaster's HD signal terrestrially, but WABC-TV still had not made any type of announcement about it at our deadline this week.

A handful of other local stations in both large and small markets also began airing local news in either 1080i or 720p in recent weeks (HD Notebook, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27, 2006).

WABC-TV began airing HD casts from its news studio, news desk and weather station with its 11 p.m. newscast back on Dec. 2, according to Broadcasting & Cable, without any fanfare (in stark contrast to competitor WNBC-TV last fall). The station's Web site also carries no mention of its entry into local HD programming.

WABC-TV local field remotes continue to air in SD, although at least one stationery remote HD camera is being tapped to provide panoramic views of the New York City skyline and other locales.