Weather Channel Forecast: HD Coming Soon

The Weather Channel said it plans to make the HD leap by the third or fourth quarter of this calendar year, confirming a claim made recently by DirecTV that the national weather network would be among the one-hundred HD channels the DBS firm would soon begin to provide to its subs. (The HD Weather Channel also will be available on cable systems.)

As with local and network news and sports operations, a challenge for the Weather Channel will be to produce new graphics that will make sense to viewers both in 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. (That usually means placing interesting--but not urgent--information on each side of the wider screen.)

Since the Weather Channel already relies on insertion of local data to supplement its national forecasts, cable headends will have to upgrade their equipment to allow for HD quality. Network ENG coverage of storms and some studio operations will not be fully implemented for 1080i coverage by the weather outlet until sometime in 2008, according to Engadget HD.