CNN's daytime programming is finally getting the high-def treatment.
The news network later this spring will debut a high-definition studio in Atlanta, marking the final phase in its conversion of all domestic programming to HD. CNN, the third-place cable news network, launched its HD service in September 2007, but initially only its New York studio was equipped for high-def.
The new 5,000-square-foot HD studio, on the seventh floor of the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, is scheduled to go on the air in April or May. Shows produced in Atlanta include CNN Newsroom, Rick's List with Rick Sanchez, CNN Saturday Morning, CNN Sunday Morning and Sanjay Gupta MD. The current Atlanta newsroom, on the fifth floor, is roughly 1,500 square feet.
Construction on the studio began about a year ago, said Matthew Holcombe, vice president of network support for the CNN Broadcast Engineering and Systems Technology group. He declined to put a price tag on the project but said that overall, CNN has made "a huge investment" in HD.
All of CNN's domestic newsgathering now will be in HD, including almost 20 HD production trucks in the field and studios in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. However, feeds from CNN affiliates may still be received and aired in standard-definition.
The Atlanta HD studio is rigged with five Sony HDC-1400 cameras on robotic pedestals, as well as one handheld steady-cam and one jib camera. Other features include a rotating anchor desk, 103-inch HD plasma screens, touch-screen walls -- and more than two miles of LED lighting.
So is 3D next?
"We have talked about it," Holcombe said. "It's certainly something that is on the radar and has generated excitement in the industry. But we don't have a clear road map."