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HDTV Magazine -- Alsea, Oregon, September 6, 2006---

Katie Couric, the $15 million a year news anchor, did her best last night to earn her keep and launch a new era in CBS network news. The reviews for the highly anticipated effort have been decidedly mixed. But how, I ask, could a new era in network news be declared without the addition of HDTV? Why didn't CBS add HDTV to their network news at this most auspicious time?

"My goal," said CBS's Vice President, Advanced Technology/Engineering, Robert Seidel to HDTV Magazine, "has always been to make the capital investments which produce HD programs that will be viewed by the largest audience. That is why we converted prime time first (80% of our viewer during a 24 hour day), followed by sports, then daytime (The Young & The Restless), then late night (Letterman). Now we are working on syndication and local news.

"Network News," explained Mr. Seidel, "is on the multi-year capital plan. But I always ask how many hours of HD will we get for this investment? The Evening News is 22 minutes in duration (after you subtract the commercials and Promos). When you focus on those 22 minutes, 75% is from the field and 25% comes from the studio. If we are going to convert the Network News to HD we need to convert all of our 8 news bureaus in the U.S. as well as (those) in Moscow, London, Paris, Israel, Tokyo, Peking, Mexico City and 200 stringers--all for 16 minutes of HD video! We will get there, but right now I am focusing on converting the local newscasts, which account for 6-8 hours per day."

Seidel did point to some good news on the immediate horizon: "CBS is currently rolling out Sony XDCAM-HD at all 18 Owned and Operated stations over the next 18 months. They are also in the process of converting all the microwave links to digital and HD as part of the Nextel project. HD at the local stations is well on the way to happening in the next few months. Our stations in L.A., Chicago, and Philly are constructing new buildings that will be totally HD. No SD will be installed."

And mark your calendars folks to catch CBS's newest addition in HDTV -- "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" -- starting 9/11/06.

Dale Cripps

Posted by Dale Cripps, September 6, 2006 10:31 AM

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About Dale Cripps

Dale Cripps is a professional journalist who has focused two thirds of his career on the subject of high-definition television. Upon completing his education in business and service in the military he formed Cripps and Associates, South Pasadena, California, in 1964, which operated as a market-development company for aerospace services. In 1983 he turned to television and began what has become a 20 year campaign to pioneer HDTV. For fifteen of those years he published the well-regarded HDTV Newsletter (an international monthly written for television professionals). During much of this same time he also served as the HDTV-Technical Editor for "Widescreen Review Magazine." On November 16, 1998 he launched the Internet distributed HDTV Magazine, which remains the only consumer publication devoted exclusively to high-definition television. In April of 2002 he co-founded with Tedson Meyers of Coudert Bros, the High-definition Television Association of America, which is presently based in Washington DC. Cripps is the president of this organization. Mr. Cripps is a charter member of the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers and honored by that organization with the DTV Press Leadership Award of 2002. He makes his home in Oregon.