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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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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CET To Simulcast On HDTV

You asked for it. You've got it.

People have been asking CET to synchonize its HDTV feed with its analog Channel 48 broadcast, so the change will be made Monday. The HDTV and analog programs will be simulcast 24/7.

For years, CET has broadcast PBS' high-definition feed, shows shot for HDTV. So HDTV owners never knew what to expect to see. Like tonight when CET's HDTV airs "The Marines," "Indian Pride" and "Wired Science" instead of "P.O.V." and "Are You Being Served?" Or when CET airs "History Detectives" and "Nova" in the afternoon instead simulcasting "Curious George" and "Arthur."

"We had some beautiful HD programs, but they were not the same ones that viewers were watching on Channel 48. Now our schedule will be similar to all of the local broadcasters in Cincinnati, providing the same programs at the same time on both the analog and digital channels," says Susan Howarth, CET president and CEO.

Programs not shot in HDTV – like those old "Lawrence Welk Shows" – will be converted to fit the 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratio. It's all a preparation for Feb. 17, 2009, the government mandated deadline for the transition to digital TV (and end of analog broadcasting).

CET also announced that the CrEaTe channel -- which was bumped from the digital airwaves to only Time Warner Channel 949 a few years ago -- will return as a CET digital broadcasting channel next year. The public TV station needs about $100,000 in new equipment to broadcast both PBS World and CrEaTe as digital channels, says Jack Dominic, vice president and chief operating officer. So don't expect to see it until next fall, at the earliest.


at 12/12/2007 2:58 PM Blogger Rob said...

Uggh! They'll be stretching everything out to fill the widescreen? What a horrible idea.

at 12/12/2007 3:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats excellent news for us HD families.

at 12/12/2007 3:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese I was watching Dirty Jobs on A&E Last night. I noticed that Dirty Jobs can be seen in HD. one question do you know when time warner will make A&E HD

at 12/12/2007 4:38 PM Blogger Jcinti said...

I agree with rob. Leave the non-HD shows in the 4:3 aspect ratio. If someone with a widescreen wants to stretch the image, they can do that locally on there HDTV. The other local channels do not stretch their non-HD content.

at 12/12/2007 5:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's really only good news for those getting their HD over the air. For cable customers it just reduces the viewing options and now we'll have to put up with that horrible stretching. I could easily switch to the non-HD channel to see local 48 programming if I thought I was missing something. Now I lose a full-time HD channel (that had some really great programs) for a channel that's sometimes HD, sometimes SD stretched to 16:9.

at 12/12/2007 7:48 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

How totally !&#^!&^#!&^! IGNORANT to "STRETCH OLD Lawrence Welk and many other shows".

They should have their license revoked for stupidity to RUIN what PEOPLE and their faces look like for the damn HDTV "FIT".

I will no longer watch them or give money if THIS is how they reward their customers.

THUMBS DOWN to this idiotic idea and thanks for the warning John.

I hope they go out of business if they want to ruin ALL OLDER SHOWS.


at 12/13/2007 8:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is probably just cet getting ready for the cutoff of the analog signal in 14 months

at 12/13/2007 9:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez Sophia, take a's just TV.
Everything goes digital (and, probably, stretchy) in 2009 anyway so your ol' Philco is going to have to adapt eventually.

I say thumbs up to CET for staying ahead of the curve on the non-stop technology.

at 12/13/2007 9:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maintain the 4:3 original ratio. I don't want to see Norma Zimmer look like Paula Abdul!

(Does this mean that pledge breaks will be in HD too? Oh the humanity!)

at 12/13/2007 10:05 AM Blogger Rob said...

Just because they go digital doesn't mean they're required to stretch everything. HD channels right now broadcast 4:3 shows in their proper 4:3 aspect ratio all the time. The channels that stretch (like TBS) are playing to the lowest common denominator choosing to favor the idiots who demand their entire screen be filled (in the last gen these were the Pan and Scan people) over those who actually want their media in the aspect ratio it was created for. There's no reason for 4:3 shows to be artificially stretched to 16:9.

at 12/13/2007 10:16 AM Anonymous Brian Snape, CET said...

Good morning from CET!
If I may, I'd like to clear up some of the confusion regarding CET's decision to simulcast our analog signal on our HD channel.

While there are several wonderful programs available on the PBS HD channel, we felt many people were confused or put off by the discrepancy between analog channel 48 and digital channel 34.1. We've also received many comments from viewers who were disappointed that our programming on analog channel 48 could not be received over the air digitally. It was with all of this in mind that we made the decision to simulcast our analog signal on our HD channel.
This also keeps us consistent with the other broadcasters in our community.

Let me assure you, CET will not and never had plans to "stretch" standard definition images to fit the 16:9 widescreen format. Lawrence Welk, Are You Being Served, Doctor Who and other programs that are in the 4:3 format will stay in the 4:3 format on your screen. Programs that are in standard definition programs will be on the HD channel but will not be in high definition.

I hope this information helps. If anyone has any questions, please let us at CET know. You may not know that we have a blog dedicated to answering questions dealing with the upcoming analog signal switchoff (433 days... but who is counting, right?).

at 12/13/2007 11:45 AM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

Thank you for clearing things up! It's bad enough seeing video clips on news shows or sports shows looking "stretched". Channel 9 news is NOT STRETCHED (well except their first day in HD)

As for somebody telling me to take a valium, if all of tv is going to STRETCH to fill the screens that is ignorant. As mentioned, HD does not mean WIDE SCREEN FORMAT. Hello.

Some of you people who have been watching REGULAR shows stretched on those rectangle TV's may not mind. Those of us with an eye for clarity and artistic things staying in context, appreciate normal old fashioned 4.3 ration.

I can not STAND going to somebody's house and seeing their wide screen making everybody look distorted like a pumpkin head Charlie Brown.

There is no reason to ruin tv for only what, 17% of the population that even OWNS HD tv's?

Thank you John for having this site to clear up things.

Appreciated it.


at 12/13/2007 12:45 PM Blogger Rob said...

Thanks Brian, that's reassuring and good to know.

at 12/16/2007 9:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 5/07/2008 8:43 AM Blogger Joseph Katz said...

I am not a CET viewer (WUIS) but I do have a question. Doctor who is broadcast in 3:4 format YET it is wide screen (Standard Definition and widescreen) I am trying to figure out why these programs can not be broadcast in widescreen with out panels on all four sides.

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