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Erie news goes HD

Lilly Broadcasting has broken the High Definition barrier for daily local news in Erie.

WICU 12News Open Graphic

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.

Amanda Post & Kevin MacDowell in HD

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.

WICU12/WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

16 Responses to Erie news goes HD

  1. Sylvester says:

    The set looks great! The graphics look great! The HD looks great! Everything looks great! I am thrilled beyond words. This is great for Erie’s Pioneer Television Station to be first in HD local news!

    I wonder what the reaction at 8455 Peach has been?

    Sometimes it is best to not be part of a large mega conglomerate :-)

  2. Good for them. That’s terrific news although I am a bit worried about how bad I’ll look on the news in Hi Def when they’re covering a blood bank event! I’ve been talking to a few people I know at the station about this and I really had no idea what a HUGE (and expensive) undertaking this is.

  3. Sylvester says:

    This is a tremendous competitive advantage for the stations of Lilly Broadcasting. I heard a rumor that Nexstar won’t fund WJET and WFXP to do HD news until 2014. This should change and quickly. It is nice to see competition alive and well in Erie. WJET only has HD Field Cameras and nothing else at the moment to support the infrastructure needed for HD news. They got caught off guard and caught off guard rather badly.

    I seem to recall a time when WJET unveiled their new news set and everyone was expecting them to be the first station in Erie with news in high definition. Well, the tables have turned and quite nicely so.

    I would expect the 2014 mandate from Nexstar to be pushed up by at least 6 months or so. There is internal grumbling at WJET from the news department so it will be interesting to see if Nexstar will open up the purse strings.

    Once again, David slays Goliath. Metaphorically speaking ;-)

  4. Tom New says:

    “Lilly Broadcasting has broken the High Definition barrier for local news in Erie” – check that – WQLN has been shooting studio HD since the first of the year. The spring debates were actually the first local news event shot in high definition. Thursday April 19 2012.
    All of WQLN’s local productions have bee shot and edited in HD since September 2009.

  5. joel says:

    Thanks Tom, so noted and post updated.

  6. J.G. says:

    The HD LOOKS great on 12/35 but the only complaint I have is that the audio and video seem to be out of synch during the news stories. Here’s hoping they correct the problem soon.

  7. ByTheWay says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong…but didn’t 12 actually begin using it’s new set and graphics last Friday?

    And wasn’t WQLN actually the FIRST Erie TV station to broadcast in HD? I’m not convinced it did anything to increase their viewership. So, I’m also not convinced 12′s HD will help them that much.

    The other guys at 24 & 66 will probably convert sooner than later…they need to…but I’m sure the 12/35 conversion means little to their time table.

    I think 12/35 are showing improvement…but the Japanese horror film lip synch issue is way more distracting the the picture is pretty…don’t ya think?

  8. K104Ever says:

    They should show more of the set. I did notice that the wall surrounding the large monitor appears to be a cloth (or similar) type of material and directly behind Kevin it appears to have slack in it and it appears wavy.

    The graphics are great, really outdoes Jet/Fox. The sound with the picture needs tweeked.

    All in all a BIG improvement.

  9. Guardian333 says:

    High Def local is what we’ve missed for the last couple of years, having moved here from the South. Great going, guys: Your stations are the ones we now watch exclusively for local news, mostly WICU. Thanks.

  10. Terry Stuart Szall says:

    Thanks.

  11. Sean says:

    Maybe I’m the first to ask… why is there even a concept of “local broadcasting”? Why don’t the big networks ever run a 24-hour schedule with retransmitters every area of the country? It sounds so simple.

  12. Paperboy says:

    Congratulations Lilly Broadcasting. Now you have the best video signal to go with the best local news content in the city. Still a pioneer in local broadcast news and not built on the backs of taxpayers.

  13. BobbCobb says:

    Please fix the audio sync issues. Please!? The HD is great but it is impossible to not want to change the channel because of the audio issues. They also need to show more of the set and tweak the camera angles. When is this new “Weather Center” I hear so much of supposed to debut?

  14. K104Ever says:

    They really need to fix the wavy background behind the anchors also

  15. Sean says:

    OK, I understand Nexstar has been a bit loafed in the past, but I just want to jump on that bandwagon. The fact that Nexstar won’t upgrade WJET for HD in several years and they have too many stations makes me more annoyed.

  16. Ken Franklin says:

    Not sure what Nexstar’s priorities are, but the company’s not afraid to spend $285.5 million to acquire 10 Newport Television stations (12 if you count the two going to sister company Mission Broadcasting) being sold off. Five of these stations alone are in NY state – Elmira, Watertown, Syracuse and Binghamton.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvspy/nexstar-acquires-newport-stations-for-285m_b54940

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