WPRI-TV 12 First To Kick Off Digital Broadcasts
Providence, RI- Local broadcast history was made this week as WPRI-TV launched its new digital TV station WPRI-DT. WPRI-DT is the first digital TV station in Providence, Rhode Island. This event is another in a list of "firsts" for the station. WPRI 12 was the first to broadcast a 10:00 PM news through itÔŅĹs sister station, WNAC-TV (January 1997), the first Providence station to utilize a satellite truck in news gathering (1993) and the station that produces the most local news in Providence, over 30 hours per week.
With clearer pictures and better sound, WPRI-DT allows viewers to watch their favorite shows in picture-perfect detail. Testing of the new station will continue for the next few weeks.
"Or signal will be crystal clear- no snowy pictures, no ghosting or interference", said William Hague, Director of Engineering for WPRI-DT, WPRI-TV, and Fox Providence. "It will be as if you were watching the show at WPRI studios itself", he added.
Digital television (DTV) allows stations to broadcast programs in much higher resolution and with greater clarity than standard analog television. Audiences at home will be able to receive stunning pictures with up to twice the resolution of standard television along with CD-quality sound. WPRI-DT will also be the first station in Rhode Island to offer High Definition programming. CBS offers HDTV for most primetime series along with NFL, NCAA, The Masters, and other sports specials.
The caveat, though, is that audiences will need a DTV-capable television to reap the benefit. Those sets are now available, according to Hague. Viewers who want to use their current TVÔŅĹs can utilize a separate DTV receiver into their current set to pick up the crisper picture, seen locally on digital Channel 13.
According to Hague, the television industry has spent years working to establish the best possible system for creating and transmitting digital television. The work to deploy digital television at WPRI began several months ago with the rebuilding of the existing tower in Rehoboth, MA and modifications to the current transmitter building. The conversion continued with major system upgrades at WPRIÔŅĹs main studio in East Providence.
Currently, local cable companies do not carry digital TV signals, but WPRI-DT will work with local carriers to secure coverage for cable subscribers. Until then, people will need a VHF antenna and digital set to receive the new signal. "This will be a great opportunity for our cable providers to sell new cable services", said Jay Howell, WPRI/WNAC President and General Manager.
Customers should note that digital cable currently being promoted by local cable systems should not be confused with digital television. "Digital cable means to send addition channels into viewersÔŅĹ homes", said Howell.
WNAC/Fox Providence will begin digital operation as soon as FCC clearance is given, Hague added.
WPRI-TV 12 and WPRI-DT are the CBS affiliates and WNAC Fox Providence is the FOX affiliate in the Providence-New Bedford area. WPRI-TV and WPRI-DT are both owned by LIN Television Corporation based in Providence, Rhode Island. FOX Providence is managed by LIN Television.
Eyewitness News is the fastest growing television news in Providence-New Bedford, showing huge viewership gains in all newscasts.
LIN Television operates 23 television stations including two under local marketing agreements, two low-power networks, and has investments in five other stations. LIN has been engaged in television broadcasting since 1966. LIN TV Corp., a new corporate entity that owns 100% of LIN Television, completed its initial public offering in 2002 and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol TVL. Led by President/CEO Gary Chapman since 1989, LIN Television believes that itÔŅĹs commitment to local news, public affairs, and community service distinguishes its stations from other local broadcasters, cable, and satellite competitors.