Public Stations To Offer HDTV
Oct. 27, 1998
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Public TV stations will soon begin airing icons at the beginning of some programs to let viewers know the shows can be seen in a new digital format offering super-sharp pictures and sound.
Viewers will see the icons even if they don't own an expensive new digital television to watch the shows in the razor-sharp format, called high-definition television. And they'll see the icons even if their local public TV station hasn't begun broadcasting in digital.
The icons will begin appearing Nov. 9 to flag the first high-definition television shows airing on public television: ``Chihuly Over Venice'' and ``Digital TV: A Cringely Crash Course.''
Viewers will still be able to watch these shows on their analog TV sets.
Seven public TV stations plan to begin digital broadcasts on Nov. 9 and will air the two shows as well as others the Public Broadcasting Service makes available in the high-definition format.
To flag shows aired in high-definition TV, the icon starts out as the PBS logo and then morphs into the letters HD, for high-definition. The icon stays onscreen for 30 seconds, and reappears every 15 minutes.
Eventually, PBS wants to make available ``interactive'' shows where viewers, using specially equipped computers, can access additional information related to a show. For instance, during a show on architect Frank Lloyd Wright, viewers could retrieve previously conducted interviews or tour the rooms inside the houses and buildings he designed, said PBS spokeswoman Dara Goldberg.
To flag shows with such interactive content, public TV stations will air an icon that starts out as the PBS logo and turns into an E, for enhanced digital.
The seven stations to begin digital broadcasts on Nov. 9 are: WETA, Washington, D.C.; WITF, Harrisburg, Pa.; KOPB, Portland, Ore.; WMPN, Jackson, Miss.; WMVT, Milwaukee; KCTS, Seattle; and KCPT, Kansas City, Mo. Thirteen other PBS stations plan to start digital broadcasts next year.