Weather Channel HD Programs Start Monday

kstuart

kstuart

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Weather Channel HD Programs Start Monday:

Weather Anchors Ready for HD Closeup
The Weather Channel to Cut Ribbon on HD Facility Monday

By Joel Topcik, Broadcasting & Cable, 5/31/2008

While Landmark Communications’ imminent sale of The Weather Channel has yet to come into focus, things at the 24-hour cable network will be a lot clearer come June 2, when it cuts the ribbon on its new 12,500-square-foot HD facility.

Starting Monday, Your Weather Today and Evening Edition will be broadcast in 1080-line-interlace HD from a new four-story, 5,000-square-foot studio, the centerpiece of which is a 40-foot-long rear-projection display wall.

“That is a monster wall,” said on-camera meteorologist Jim Cantore, who spoke with B&C about the challenges of adjusting to the new studio. “There’s going to be some times when Cantore’s pointing to Alabama and he really means to be pointing to North Carolina.”

Cantore and his colleagues Paul Goodloe, Heather Tesch and Marshall Seese have been breaking in the new space for the past several weeks, rehearsing for several hours each day on top of their live broadcasts.

“I was telling my neighbor that my schedule’s been so busy,” Your Weather Today’s Tesch said. “And she asked me, ‘Is it really that hard to figure out which camera to look at?’”

Given the amount of moving around between -- and often within -- segments, Tesch said, yes, it is that hard: “One of the hardest things is keeping track not only of the weather, but where we’re supposed to move to.”

That spaciousness has been a blessing, Goodloe said, adding, “There’s so much more room to work with and walk around in after being limited to a small box. It gives us the opportunity to create new shots.”

It also presents basic logistical challenges, Cantore said. “Some of these new monitors on stands don’t have the easiest rollers,” he added. “Watching the floor directors struggling to move them in time for the next shot, you want to go down there and help.”

And while all four anchors are thrilled at the prospect of showing dramatic images of hurricanes and tornadoes in stunning clarity, they acknowledged some apprehension about the cosmetic challenges of going HD. “It’s scary,” Cantore said. “I don’t exactly have Jessica Alba’s skin.”

“We’ve invested $30,000 on the latest plastic surgery,” Goodloe joked.

“I have four cats and a dog, so I always have a bit of animal hair on me,” Tesch said. “Before it wasn’t a problem, but now I’m going to have to keep a lint-roller nearby.”

To see behind-the-scenes video of the rehearsals, click here.

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6565762.html
 
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pdxsam

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Mar 11, 2004
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MOnitor wall looks cool... graphics are definitely HD. Looks like they have the cameras set a bit soft but overall a decent looking picture.
 
D

davcole

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May 17, 2008
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Saw it at 7am this morning when they introduced the new set. Looks sweet!! Glad to see additional programming in HD. Looks like even some of their remotes were HD.
 
tigerfan33

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It will not be 24/7 until later this Fall. Your Weather Today and The Evening Weather will be hd along with some documentaries. The other programs should follow later this Fall in hd.

It looks awesome by the way!!!
 
Ramy

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I saw a commercial for their new studio.
 
Scott Greczkowski

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I could never figure out what VOOM was giving me the weather forcast for Egypt, Austraila, and the phillapenes. I always wonders who the hell was watching there. :)
 
kstuart

kstuart

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It will not be 24/7 until later this Fall. Your Weather Today and The Evening Weather will be hd along with some documentaries. The other programs should follow later this Fall in hd.

It looks awesome by the way!!!

No, according to a poster on another site, they will be making more programs HD gradually over the summer:

The latest data I can find shows 4 shows going HD in June, 2 more in July, 3 in August, 1 in September and 3 more in early October.
 
kstuart

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More info:
Weather Channel to debut high-definition studio

Starting June 2, viewers with the right equipment can watch upgraded offering

By KRISTI E. SWARTZ
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/25/08

Weather Channel executive Ray Ban can't stop talking about the network's new high-definition studio.

To get across the vivid experience viewers will have starting next month, he describes a horrific picture of a hurricane slamming into the Gulf Coast. High-definition video will capture the sharp contrast between light and dark sky, which would serve as the backdrop for crashing waves, says Ban, who seems poised to fly out of his chair.

The scene would be akin to an IMAX movie, only this would be live.

"Now, tell me that isn't cool," said Ban, the executive vice president of programming and meteorology.

Ban is so enamored with the Weather Channel's transformation to HD, he considers it a complete relaunch of the network. It took 18 months and $60 million to build the 5,000-square-foot studio, infrastructure and other improvements. The $400,000 HD screen is as wide as a tennis court and can bring up radar, maps and graphics at the touch of a finger.

It may seem like a strange time to make a big investment, considering the Weather Channel's owner, Norfolk, Va.-based Landmark Communications, put the station on the auction block in January. Company executives have remained quiet about potential buyers, though analysts have tossed around names such as News Corp. and NBC Universal. The network wants $5 billion, but analysts say it's likely to get half that.

A Landmark executive declined to comment on the status of the sale.

Adding an HD feed should make the network more valuable, said Alan Breznick, an analyst at Heavy Reading, a technology and media research firm in the Washington, D.C., area. It's also more expensive to produce a show in HD.

"They are taking on the major expense of doing it now," Breznick said. "It's like fixing up the kitchen before selling the house."

The crisp, clear screen has also been known to drive up ratings.

"Every network recognizes that if they have an HD version of that channel, they are going to have higher ratings for that channel," said John Mansell, a senior analyst with Kagan Research LLC. "Higher ratings translates to higher ad revenue," as well as the potential to charge cable and satellite operators a higher fee to carry the station.

"If you don't go HD, you're basically left at the starting blocks," said Bruce Leichtman, president of Durham, N.H.-based Leichtman Research Group. "There are so many other networks that are already there, if you're not there, you're conspicuously absent."

Ready for rollout

Right now, like at a lot of other TV stations, Weather Channel meteorologists stand in front of a chroma, or "green," screen. It's actually blank, requiring forecasters to look at an off-camera screen and gesture as if the map is behind them.

But that old technology is about to disappear.

On June 2 at 7 a.m., viewers can catch a glimpse of the new project, which includes posh workstations for the anchors. Weather Channel's morning program, "Your Weather Today," goes live in HD for the first time, followed by "Evening Edition" at 9 p.m. Some of the network's taped programs, such as "When Weather Changed History," "Epic Conditions" and "Forecast Earth," are already shown in HD.

"High definition is become more and more the norm: The networks have gone that way, the sports networks have gone that way already, the movie networks have already gone that way," Breznick said. "I am surprised that the Weather Channel hasn't already done that."

Just because the Weather Channel is offering an HD channel doesn't mean that everyone will get to see the new studio in HD. Viewers need a souped-up television set that has an HD tuner and either satellite TV or a digital cable package.

Comcast customers in metro Atlanta may not be able to view the network in HD on June 2.

The cable provider recently signed an HD contract with the Weather Channel and is "currently reviewing rollout plans," said Gene Shatlock, regional senior vice president for the Comcast Atlanta Region.

Never too prepared

The station's anchors were rehearsing in the 5,000-square-foot studio last week to become accustomed to their new digs — which include computers embedded in their desks, nine cameras and a circle-shaped console that can rotate nearly 360 degrees. The anchors must figure out directions such as where to stand and which camera to look at all over again.

The mod-looking, shiny metal workstation and all of the new cameras and screens can take some getting used to. The producers, technical directors and other staffers continue to make changes in the weeks leading up to when they go live. For example, the horizontal runway strip where the meteorologists stand used to be made of white tile, which Ban said had a glare that washed out the crispness of the large HD screen. So they had to redo it in black.

"That's why you rehearse, and you do the drill," Ban said. "There's nothing like doing it for real."

http://www.ajc.com/business/content/...ther_0525.html
 
Pepper

Pepper

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Mar 16, 2004
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I could never figure out what VOOM was giving me the weather forcast for Egypt, Austraila, and the phillapenes. I always wonders who the hell was watching there. :)
Well it is nice to know what's going on other places occasionally.
 
P

phonegunner

SatelliteGuys Family
Dec 6, 2005
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Salt Lake City, UT
The HD channel has been up for a couple weeks now ...

Did they finally get the bottom line information to show (the CITY TEMP stuff?)

And did they un-stretch the US for the weather on the 8's?

Ted...
 
jerryez

jerryez

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Sep 8, 2003
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I just checked and TWC on my tv is still 4x3with bars on the side. Did they change back from HD to SD, since this morning.
 
kstuart

kstuart

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Nov 5, 2006
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Okay, now they have technical difficulties ! :eek:

The anchors are saying "for the first time in HD", but someone has forgotten to remove the blue curtains (or they are having problems switching).
 

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