PBS to Provide Digital Public TV Stations with Political Convention Coverage in High-Definition Television

Posted by PBS Publicity on

ALEXANDRIA, VA., July 26, 2000 - The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), KCTS/Seattle Public Television and NHK of Japan will provide 17 digital PBS stations across the country with live, high-definition (HDTV) coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, marking the first time these major public events will be broadcast in this new digital television format. HDTV combines crystal-clear widescreen pictures with CD-quality sound.

"PBS and its stations have always been on the cutting edge of the application of new technologies to public service," said PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell. "Using the promising technology of the digital age to provide a live high-definition broadcast of the key political events of our time advances public television commitment to the noncommercial use of this new technology and further affirms its tradition of public service."

Local PBS stations planning to offer the HDTV broadcasts include: WHYY/Philadelphia, PA; KCET/Los Angeles, CA; KCTS/Seattle, WA; KCPT/Kansas City, MO; WITF/Harrisburg, PA; KOPB/Portland, OR; KQED/San Francisco, CA; KRMA/Denver, CO; WETA/Washington, DC; KTCA/Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN; WMVS/Milwaukee, WI; WMPN/Jackson, MS; WNJT/Trenton, NJ; WGBY/Springfield, MA; WMPT/Annapolis/Crownsville, MD; WRLK/Columbia, SC; and WCBB/Lewiston, ME. In order to view the HDTV coverage offered by the 17 digital PBS stations, viewers must have DTV receivers.

On-site coverage of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia (July 31 - August 3) and the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles (August 14 - 17) is being coordinated by the Washington, DC, news bureau of NHK of Japan, and will not include any commentary or reporting. Fixed cameras at the podium and at least four other sites throughout the hall in Philadelphia (there will be at least a dozen cameras in Los Angeles) will capture the convention's proceedings in high-definition clarity and sound.

An NHK-sponsored Web site (www.hdtv2000.org) lists the PBS stations carrying the HDTV feeds, along with links to each local station's Web site. This special NHK site also will offer live video streaming of convention events in the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.

The HDTV broadcast schedule for the Republican National Convention is below (all times EDT). The feed schedule for the Democratic National Convention will be announced at a later date.

Monday, July 31, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 1, 7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 2, 7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 3, 7:00 p.m. - conclusion

In a world of hundreds of digital channels, only public broadcasters are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to high-quality, noncommercial, educational programming and services.

Seven pioneering local stations and PBS were among the first in the nation to launch digital service in the fall of 1998. Since then, PBS has premiered two multicast services that are available to stations and on DBS (PBS KIDS® Channel, a 24-hour digital broadcast service, and PBS YOU, the nation's only 24-hour educational channel leading to a college degree); participated in groundbreaking enhanced TV projects, and presented at least one HDTV program a month. Public television stations are required to make the federally mandated transition to digital by 2003.

KCTS/Seattle has established an international reputation as a leader in high-definition television production. The station completed the first international satellite transmission of a high-definition signal in October 1987, and, in 1994, became the first public television station in North America to own high-definition production equipment. In the past 10 years, KCTS created the largest archive of original high-definition television footage in the United States, having been involved in the production of more than 30 HDTV projects. Among the station's HDTV credits are the aerial specials, Over¨ America, Over Ireland and Over Canada: An Aerial Adventure; the documentary, Chihuly Over Venice, whose November 1998 PBS premiere marked the first national broadcast in the United States of a television program that was both produced and aired in high-definition; the concert special, Seattle Symphony: Home at Last; and the documentary Rainier: The Mountain, which premiered on PBS in May 2000.

KCTS/Seattle worked closely with NHK in planning the HDTV convention coverage and in coordinating with PBS technical personnel to ensure that the coverage is available to all U.S. public television stations that are able to transmit digital television signals.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org.



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Jan McNamara

John Merli