On to 16×9 !

June 4, 2007

Snapshot_2You folks didn’t know it, but for the last few weeks we’ve been getting ready to upgrade our weather system.  Here’s the story.
Television stations for the last 50 years have broadcast in a 4×3 format or the "boxy" look.  The FCC has mandated that in mid-February 2009, all analog (and 4×3) broadcasts will end and TV stations need to be broadcasting in digital only.  Of course that means the size of the screen changes to 16×9, regardless of whether stations upgrade to HDTV.  About 2 months ago KOIN became the first station to start broadcasting in this 16×9 format.  As of 10pm tonight we are as well.  That is 16×9, but not HDTV.  For those of you watching on cable or satellite TV or regular channel 12 over the air you may not have noticed much of anything different.  In the weather department we did change our forecasts a little and cleaned up some graphics too.  Those of you watching on an HDTV (either over the air or HD through satellite/cable) noticed that the black edges are gone and now we are filling the screen.  An example to the left shows our 7 Day forecast.  The area within the lines is seen by everyone.  But those watching HDTV will see farther out to each side.  So for 2 years we have to make graphics and show video for 2 sets of viewers.  We can’t put anything critical outside of the white lines, but we can’t stand long in the "edges" or some of you viewers will wonder where we went!   In February of 2009, all USA viewers will have to either purchase a set-top box to convert their TVs or purchase an HDTV.  At that point we will stop broadcasting that 4×3 signal.  Tricky for making the weather graphics eh?
As for weather…cold trough the next few days…get ready for showers.  My garden needs them, so I’m not complaining…for now.  Mark