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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why No Sunday Night CBS HDTV?

An Enquirering Mind wanted to know: Why are CBS' "Cold Case" and "Shark" in standard definition on Sunday nights, instead of HDTV?

Here's the explanation from Hank Hundemer, WKRC-TV (Channel 12) chief engineeer: CBS only provides on HDTV feed on Sundays starting promptly at 7 p.m. And that's a problem during the NFL season.

When the 4 p.m. regional games run past 7 p.m. -- as did the Bengals-Jets on Sunday -- Channel 12 had two choices: Cut off the first part of a show to join the HDTV feed in progress... or run the entire CBS lineup in full in standard definition. Channel 12 chooses to run all the shows, so no HDTV.

"Trust me, if HD is available we will have it on our air. I love HD as much as the next guy," Hundemer says.

Later in the football season, as games have playoff implications, the situation may be rectified, he says. At the end of a late game, CBS may switch to another game so all the East Coast gets a delayed prime-time lineup. In that case, we'll get the shows in HDTV.


at 10/23/2007 10:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean they can't tape delay (DVD delay) the HD version? If they cana get it in SD they should be able to get it in HD.

at 10/23/2007 10:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does 12 not have HDTV recording capabilities? JVC makes this device called a VCR.

at 10/23/2007 11:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh, I think when you're dealing with broadcast television at the network level in HD, its not as simple as running down to Best Buy and getting a TiVo.

Although I think CBS should feed everything in HD all the time.

at 10/23/2007 12:14 PM Anonymous Chris said...

I don't think this is a WKRC problem because it happens all over the east coast. CBS should step up to the plate and feed the shows properly to everyone. I can't imagine this situation lasting much longer. HD has really hit critical mass and is becoming the rule rather than the exception for many people. They'd never let their SD feed be second rate because of a football game and soon they'll have to treat their HD feed the same way because it'll have just as many viewers.

Recording and tape-delaying uncompressed HD is a whole lot more complicated and a whole lot more expensive than your VCR or TiVo. Just ask folks in the mountain time zone (which delays the east coast feed). Most markets didn't get primetime in HD until very recently.

at 10/23/2007 12:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, I was wondering the same thing. We paid 2000 for a HDTV and pay extra to have the HD box from time warner.
Get it together 12!

at 10/23/2007 12:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drives us crazy when they run their prime time into 11:30 or so. They should join "60 Minutes" "in progress" instead of delaying everything. Have to get up too early to stay up late enough to watch Shark until 11:30 or later, even though I love the show.

at 10/23/2007 1:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 12 does not have HD recording gear, so they cannot show time-shifted HD. Channel 9 does have HD recorders (either tape or Hard Drive)and that is why they have Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy in HD.

at 10/23/2007 1:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask a TV engineer what it takes to get something done and you'll get 12 resons why it can't be done.
Until management steps in....

at 10/23/2007 1:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Drives us crazy when they run their prime time into 11:30 or so. They should join "60 Minutes" "in progress" instead of delaying everything. Have to get up too early to stay up late enough to watch Shark until 11:30 or later, even though I love the show.}

Tape the show then if you can't stay up late!!!!

at 10/23/2007 2:02 PM Blogger Tom Auel Jr. said...

It all comes down to bandwidth. CBS knows they get higher demand for Football games so they throw as much bandwidth as they can to put the game in high def and give a great picture. Unfortunately that means that standard def programming will only be available everywhere else, using the leftover bandwidth.

at 10/23/2007 3:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real issue is that not all Bengal games are broadcast in HD. Nothing drives me crazier than a Bengals game in SD. At least they got that part right this week...but we'll see next week if HD prevails.

at 10/23/2007 3:44 PM Blogger bmurdock said...

I don't get why the network doesn't just pad their coverage time to run to the top of the hour? If it ends a little early then they can do a studio wrap up/highlight show until the top of the hour.

Would that be so hard to do? Am I missing something?

at 10/23/2007 4:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW ABOUT WHEN 12 takes an NFL game, FORGETS to put it out in HD until mid way through the first quarter than someone at the controls must wake up,
drop the grinder in their hands, dump over their Mr. Pibb - and say: "Whoops, forgot to punch up the HD!"
But to tell the truth, anything is better than that joke of a paper, the Enquirer - why not blog about the mistakes the paper makes?

at 10/23/2007 7:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that if a football game is to be aired from 4 to 7 pm then if the game is not over with, tough I am tried of my shows not being in HD and running late every week

at 10/23/2007 10:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wah wah wah I don't get my HD. If this is all you HD people have to complain about in life, you must be doing pretty good. GET A LIFE!

at 10/24/2007 12:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't the only problem that WKRC refuses to spend money on. They also do not broadcast any of their HD signals in 5.1 surround sound like every other station because, and I paraphrase Hank from an email response I have from him, "it's too expensive right now." If it's so expensive, why have FOX, ABC & NBC been able to broadcast 5.1 for the past 2+ years? Oh that's right, you're spending the money on two other channels that NO ONE watches. Keep up the good work.

at 10/24/2007 1:18 PM Anonymous Jay (TV Engineer) said...

I don't believe this is a bandwidth issue. All of the SD channels come down one transponder (G26/20). The HD broadcast take up their own transponder so the east coast feed is one transponder (G26/19) and the west coast feed is on another one (G26/21). If CBS is the single-header network than the primetime schedule will air as scheduled for those stations that have the early game. CBS does not have a bandwidth problem they have a HD Master Control problem. They can not generate and uplink enough HD feeds for some reason. That is the reason they can not broadcast every football game in HD even though the truck at the stadium is most likely an HD truck.

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