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The Big Picture

HD is future of news 12/12/2004 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Six months ago, KUSA Denver became the first TV station to capture and
deliver live HD images from its news chopper. Since then, major broadcast
networks have seized on this technology for sporting events. Now other TV
stations are following suit; several are on tap for HD in 2005. Helinet CTO
J.T. Alpaugh discussed the market with B&C's Ken Kerschbaumer.

What other stations have started using the HD
system?

We have several, such as KGO San Francisco, KPNX Phoenix and KXTV
Sacramento. Right now, all are in downconvert mode. But when they're ready to
do HD news, we take the HD output and add an encoder to the digital
transmitter.

With only one station, KUSA, signed up, why offer
it?

We have close to 30 TV-news contracts across the country, and we're
starting to see a buzz about HD. The future in news is HD; we're waiting for
the wave to catch on. We also think KUSA's results will fuel demand.

When will that happen?

We'll know better after this holiday season. We're hoping to see a
spike in set sales, and that's going to have a real effect on what drives the
HD market.

Will the growth pattern be similar to that of
helicopters? For example, a station will add a chopper only to compete with
another station that has one.

That's a very good analogy. It will be pretty similar, except that the
cost incurred to convert a news department to HD is more than just adding HD to
a helicopter.

Can your system be used outside of
helicopters?

Yes. Football broadcasters have put the system on a remotely controlled
camera mount that flies over the field. We've been doing one NFL game a week,
and we'll also be doing the Super Bowl.

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