'Worldfocus' Expands HD Operations

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WNET.ORG's
ambitious international-news program Worldfocus
continues to expand its high-definition operations.

The public broadcaster plans to upgrade Worldfocus's current national feed from standard definition to HD
sometime this year and to construct a new HD studio in New York's Lincoln
Center sometime this summer or early fall.

WNET.ORG -- parent company and operator of public-TV stations WNET
in New York and WLIW in Garden City, N.Y., as well as public-media producer Creative
News Group -- built a new HD control room and studio for the program's launch
last fall. It's already shooting Worldfocus
in the 1080i format and broadcasting it in SD and HD in the New
York City area.

The program is currently sent to affiliates around the
country in standard definition, but sometime this year it should also make the
daily international news show available in high-def.

WNET is also in the
process of building a new street-level HD studio for Worldfocus and other programs on the campus of Lincoln
Center in New
York City. Once that studio is completed, sometime in
the summer or fall of 2009, the Lincoln
Center facility on 66th
Street in Manhattan
will be linked by fiber to the existing HD-capable control room in the
company's midtown headquarters at 33rd Street.

The upgrades are notable because they represent WNET.ORG's
first move to produce one of its studio shows in HD, as well as its first foray
into robotic cameras and tapeless workflow, noted managing director of
engineering Frank Graybill.

WNET began the upgrades
last summer, and in a tight two-month schedule built a new HD-capable control
room for Worldfocus. For the new
control room, the broadcaster installed a FOR-A HVS-1500HS switcher.

The current studio for Worldfocus,
built inside one of the existing studios, employs Sony HDCX-300 cameras with
Canon lenses and Telemetrics for the camera robotics. For the tapeless
workflow, WNET has deployed Omneon and is
using Avid Final Cut Pro to edit the stories and packages.

Other vendors include Chyron for graphics, Yamaha for audio
and Evertz Microsystems for the video wall, distribution, conversion and
terminal gear.

"This was a project that came up very quickly, with a very
rapid turnaround of about seven to eight weeks between the first meetings and
rehearsals," said Kevin Collins, chief operating officer of Diversified
Systems, which is providing integration services for the project.

Besides the short time frame, Collins noted that WNET
faced the challenge of creating an HD news operation that would receive feeds
from all over the world.

"It was really their first news program and first experience
with a tapeless workflow," Collins said.

The use of robotics studio cameras and the tapeless work
flow "has been a very big change for us," Graybill said. "But it has really
worked out very well," adding that "we've been very happy with the FOR-A
switcher and very pleased with the decision to use it."

Looking forward, Graybill said the public content producer
has entered into a lease agreement with Lincoln
Center for street-level space
within one of its facilities. Few details or vendors for the project have been
finalized, however.

Diversified is working on the Lincoln
Center studio project as an
integrator. When completed, the show will be shot in HD from the Lincoln Center
street-level studio. Signals will be fed by fiber back to producers and
directors the its current HD control room at WNET.ORG's
headquarters.

"We are working on developing and designing the fiber link
right now," Collins said.

No firm timetable has been made for making the show -- which is presently downconverted for national
distribution -- available to affiliates in HDTV. But an HD national feed is expected to become
available sometime this year. "It is a distribution issue," Graybill noted.

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