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Weather Channel Raining Money On HDTV

02-21-2007, 09:30 PM
Washington, D.C. (February 21, 2007) -- The Weather Channel is spending "tens of millions of dollars" on its launch of a High-Definition channel this fall.

That's according to an article in Broadcasting & Cable magazine.

The Weather Channel's plan to launch a high-def simulcast of its 24-hour network was revealed last month by DIRECTV. The satcaster announced that it would offer 100 national HDTV channels by year's end and named The Weather Channel among the new offerings.

Weather Channel officials tell B&C that it's completely renovating its Atlanta studios and broadcasting equipment to get ready for the HD debut. (The network has not revealed an exact date for the launch.)

The Weather Channel's HD simulcast will be broadcast in 1080i.

"Weather is such a visual thing," Weather Channel network president Debora Wilson tells the magazine. "We're excited about presenting weather with the clarity and power that HD can provide.

Several local TV stations -- and NBC's Today Show -- have recently invested heavily to update their on-screen weather graphics for high-def broadcasts. But Wilson says her network will have to spend even more.
"It's a big investment for us," Wilson says. "It's a very different scope (than) required to convert a TV station or, frankly, even a network that is more predominantly focused on tape product. Because we're 24/7 live. We have all the components: the studio, the broadcast infrastructure and the STAR (Satellite Transponder Addressable Receiver) technology."

Network officials tells B&C that initially it will broadcast in high-def during the day with the rest of the lineup in upconverted standard definition. Field reports will gradually be switched over to high-def, with some remote high-def cameras used for the 2008 hurricane season.

To justify its investment, The Weather Channel says it hopes that cable operators will add the high-def channel this year along with DIRECTV.

Source (http://www.tvpredictions.com/weatherhd022107.htm)