ABC O&Os Will Keep SD Feeds - Multichannel

ABC O&Os Will Keep SD Feeds

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ABC to cable: Leave the downconversion to us.

The broadcaster last week said its 10 owned-and-operated stations will continue to offer standard-definition, 4:3 feeds to cable operators after the Feb. 17, 2009, government-mandated switchover to all-digital broadcasts.

That will eliminate the need for a cable system to downconvert a station's primary high-definition feed into analog format before distributing it to subscribers.

CableLabs CEO Dick Green, in a prepared statement, said: “We're delighted that the ABC-owned TV stations are offering this valuable service benefiting cable subscribers who will continue to depend upon a standard-definition signal after Feb. 17.”

“These extra feeds will help ensure that the highest-quality signal is provided to our local ABC viewers who continue to have analog television sets in their homes by the Feb. 17 cutoff date,” Walter Liss, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, said in a statement.

ABC expects the SD feeds to be available for at least a year, with the end-date depending on the progress made in converting sets for digital reception.

The stations will offer cable operators either a digital downconverted HD feed or an analog feed if that is the only wireline service available, according to ABC vice president of corporate projects Julie Hoover.

The 10 ABC-owned television stations are: WABC (New York); KABC (Los Angeles); WLS (Chicago); WPVI (Philadelphia); KGO (San Francisco); KTRK (Houston); WTVD (Raleigh-Durham, N.C.); KFSN (Fresno, Calif.); WJRT (Flint, Mich.); and WTVG (Toledo, Ohio).

According to ABC, all told the station group reaches about 24% of the nation's TV households.