Erie news goes HD
Lilly Broadcasting has broken the High Definition barrier for daily local news in Erie.
WICU and WSEE are producing and broadcasting their news products in HD. In addition, on Monday WICU debuted their new 16:9 aspect ratio designed news set, complete with both a news desk and interview station. A brand new HD graphics package accompanied the transition, which looks big market.
Watching over a couple days you can really get the sense of what a huge undertaking this is. A month ago we began to see the beginnings of local HD origination with some syndicated programming broadcast in HD. All of the field cameras and editing equipment, studio cameras, new switchers, production suite, weather computers, and all the minutia has now been converted to the new system.
They are not done yet. Still to roll out is a new touch screen weather system, and the regular commercials and many of the promos have not been converted to HD. Like I said, there is a lot to do, and a lot has been spent.
Another big change this week was rebranding the news on Channel 35 as SEE News, using the same graphics package as WICU although via the previous set.
My reaction? I’m thrilled for the Erie viewer. For over the past year, it has been hard to explain to the average viewer why their local news looked so inferior to what they just watched from the national network. Now the local landmarks fill your flat screen. On my set, fed by an over-the-air signal (no cable), the studio shots are clean and the anchors look bright. There continues to be issues with video/audio sync and sometimes the intros don’t work, but hopefully that will work itself out soon. I’m sure they had to push to get ready for election day and the November sweeps.
The addition of Lilly’s stations triples the offering of local origination high definition programming. Up until now, only WQLN was able to produce in HD. This puts pressure on the corporate Nexstar stations WJET and WFXP, who last year updated their news sets in anticipation of their own conversion.
Former News Director Lisa Adams is justifiably proud of the Lilly stations’ efforts in this package which aired Wednesday.