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CBS affiliate WUSA-TV will begin broadcasting more than 35 hours of live local news each week in high definition this spring. The Washington, D.C.-based channel is currently on the air in digital, presenting CBS network HD material during primetime and other dayparts when available, and upconverting simulcast programs during the rest of the day.

Station executives said that from buying new Sony HD (1080i) studio cameras and switchers to running miles of cable throughout, the station is literally being rebuilt from the ground up. WUSA-TV’s news crews will acquire news in the field with its existing Panasonic DVCPRO SD cameras in the 16:9 aspect ratio, then upconvert news segments before incorporating them with HD graphics and anchors captured in the studio.

The Gannett station has installed a Miranda master control switcher, Grass Valley Trinix video routing switcher and Miranda signal conversion products to make the changeover happen. Signal routing is one of the more critical parts of the transition to get right, according to Terry Smith, director of technology for WUSA-TV, since the station will be dealing with a variety of formats and aspect ratios that all have to be combined into a cohesive newscast.

WUSA-TV will also unveil a new set and new HD compatible graphics.

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