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Main Channel Goes HD in August

June 26 2011 by Peter Morrill

 On August 8, at approximately 11:55pm, Idaho Public Television’s Main Channel (subchannel 1) will switch from broadcasting our main programming service in standard definition digital to broadcasting in high definition (HD) digital format.


“Most new productions that come to us now are now in high definition, so there is a larger programming selection to choose from than even a year ago, “ says Ron Pisaneschi, Idaho Public Television director of content. “It only makes sense that NATURE, for instance, should be broadcast in high definition on our Main Channel.” Upgrades to IdahoPTV’s technical infrastructure are allowing for the change.


As a result of this change, our current HD channel (subchannel 2) will switch at the same time to broadcasting in standard definition digital and be renamed to the “IdahoPTV Plus” channel. It will feature “theme nights” of great PBS, local and acquired programming with a group of shows around a single theme that will be broadcast in standard definition widescreen. Viewers will still have multiple opportunities to see their favorite programs. In the near future, we are hoping to offer a high definition version of the “IdahoPTV Plus” channel to subscribers of cable television systems in Idaho.


“We are committed to continually improve the quality of our Idaho Public Television service,” General Manager Peter W. Morrill says. “Our long-term digital plan always envisioned that our primary channel would broadcast over-the-air in high definition. Improved technology, new equipment and a wider selection of HD programming has allowed us to make the change now, as we approach our 10-year anniversary of digital broadcasting.”


Historically, IdahoPTV’s Main Channel (-1) has been broadcast in a standard definition digital format. This Main Channel actually has three regional versions that are adjusted for the two time zones and populations needs in southern Idaho. IdahoPTV has also offered a second channel service statewide broadcast in a high definition format that is common to the entire state, with no accommodations to time zones and populations. The reason for this single, common channel was economic. In 2002, when much of the original equipment was purchased, high definition equipment was cost prohibitive and the available programming was sparse. Now as we reach our ten-year anniversary of digital broadcasting, we are refreshing our technical infrastructure to reflect current needs of the market.


The opportunity to upgrade our statewide broadcast service was the result of a generous grant from the M.J. Murdoch Charitable Trust grant and the now defunded U.S. Department Commerce’s Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP).


More information will be available in the July CHANNELS Magazine.


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