This is part of the DTV section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer

It would be a kindness if you'd just send a short note to let me know who you are, and what your interests are. Thanks.

(Quick definitions: DTV = Digital TeleVision .... HDTV = High Definition TeleVision - also digital)

Euclid Coikouma of NBC writes:

WHD-TV was the call sign for the Model HDTV Station in Washington, DC. The facility was located at NBC's Washington facility which is also home to WRC-TV, WRC-DT, The NBC News Washington Bureau and portions of other NBC Television departments.

The first transmitter was an experimental 25 KW Comark. A Harris Sigma series transmitter was added later. Both transmitters were on the air simultaneously on different channels occasionally. The channels used varied during the project. At least 3 different channels were used while it was on the air. One of them was Channel 27. I believe that it first went on the air on August 6, 1996 and stayed on the air until sometime in 2002.

Now, DT is the standard suffix for Digital Television Stations. (WRAL-HD was issued as well as WHD-TV.)

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The following is courtesy of Don Wilkinson of Fisher Broadcasting in Seattle, WA. It is a general history of KOMO's development as a HDTV station.

We now turn the stage over to Don:

Perhaps we have been a little too quiet about our interest and participation in the development of HDTV.

In October of 1996, I convinced Fisher Broadcasting Inc. management that we could help develop an American HDTV standard by putting an experimental HDTV station on the air.

KOMO first broadcast high definition programming in Seattle on January 20, 1997 using a low power experimental transmitter from our Queen Anne tower.

The material that was broadcast was post produced in 1080i (actually 1035i) by HD Vision in Dallas and consisted of material that we shot around the area (with borrowed Sony equipment) combined with some video provided by HD Vision. We built a High Definition demonstration theatre to show to visitors. The universal initial response has been "when can I get it?" Then after thinking for a few minutes..."how much will it cost?"

To the best of our knowledge, we were the third station in the country to transmit HDTV after WHD (the industry model station in Washington, DC) and WRAL in Raleigh, NC. At the very least, KOMO was first on the west coast, about two weeks before KCTS began their experimental operation.

In March of 1998, we were finally able to get high power digital transmission equipment delivered and have been transmitting on channel 38 with 350 kilowatts of average effective radiated power ever since. Power will be increased to 810 kw as soon as the manufacturer can deliver the equipment. High Definition encoders have been available for 1080 interlace for a little while, but ABC has chosen 720 progressive. We received our 720p encoder [in late October 1998] and have since been transmitting high definition test signals and an upconverted digital version of our regular NTSC programming when HDTV is not available from the network.

Our first live HDTV network feed was the John Glenn Space Shuttle broadcast Thursday, October 29, 1998, which we carried in 720p format.

On November 1, 1998, ABC broadcast Disney's presentation of "101 Dalmatians" in high definition which we carried at 2 pm and 7 pm on channel 38. Hereafter, ABC will provide the Disney program and the Movie of the Week on Thursday evening in 720p.

We sent out a test vehicle on the road to make coverage measurements and to confirm predicted coverage. We have hired the same consultant who measured the coverage of WHD to do our work in order to insure that the results are valid and comparable to measurements done elsewhere.

KOMO-DT is committed to the concept of High Definition television, rather than multiple channels of standard definition video. We feel strongly that the viewer needs to have a reason to want to spend that much money. Four more channels of the same old stuff just doesn't cut it.

We presently do not have a large inventory of HDTV video that we have produced. We have been concentrating on getting the transmission infrastructure in place while our new digital studio facility is under construction. HD production equipment is not readily available, and that which is available is generally "not ready for prime time." We anticipate that it will be a while before we can get all of our programming in HDTV. However, I can assure that KOMO-DT will be among the first to do so.

Best regards,
Don Wilkinson, VP Engineerng
Fisher Broadcasting Inc.