This is part of the DTV section of
The Broadcast Archive
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
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.)
- - - -
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
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.
Don Wilkinson, VP Engineerng
Fisher Broadcasting Inc.