The Weather Channel Uses HD Technology To Revolutionize TV Weather Presentation

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Originator of 24-hour Weather on TV Now Sets New Standard for HD Weather

The Weather Channel revolutionized how weather was presented when we launched in 1982 and we are about to do that again in 2008

On June 2, The Weather Channel will launch programming from its new facility, one year in the making and equipped to broadcast in pure High Definition format. Your Weather Today, seen weekdays 7-10 a.m., and Evening Edition, seen weeknights 9 p.m.-3 a.m., are the first two studio programs to be presented in the new format. Others will be added over the next several months until all studio programs of the network's 24/7 operation will be available in HD.

The new HD programming will be transmitted in the 1080i HD format with a simulcast of the same programming for SD receivers. Striking visual differences will be immediately noticeable to viewers as the result of all-new set designs, lighting, camera angles and production techniques. An HD video screen, as wide as a tennis court, will be the centerpiece for displaying all graphics, video shots, maps, radar and reports from the field.

Ever the Trailblazer
"The Weather Channel revolutionized how weather was presented when we launched in 1982 and we are about to do that again in 2008," said Ray Ban, executive vice president of programming and meteorology at The Weather Channel.

"We are going to raise the bar with a next-generation display which translates to a more dramatic viewing experience. Just as we introduced and grew around-the-clock weather, we now take ownership of a totally new way of presenting weather. Continuing in our path as innovators, we will move viewers forward into the HD era of weather presentation," he explained.

Features of the New HD Studio
Among the advances that will distinguish the HD programming at The Weather Channel is the 37-foot-long video screen, the largest available anywhere for real-time weather presentation. On-camera meteorologists will accent their presentations with large-scale weather data images and video clips.

June 2 also marks the launch of a new generation of graphics on The Weather Channel that has been in development for over a year. "With HD, all the images are more crisp, clear and colorful with more detail," noted Gus Lalone, vice president of programming and production. A team of more than 20 graphics designers and meteorologists collaborated to create new maps, images and descriptive elements to optimize HD's capability to show more detail and clarity.

All Viewers Will See a Striking Difference
HD and SD viewers alike will realize they are being transported to a new place for viewing weather. Each program will appear distinctive due to a pinwheel arrangement in the studio design. Other features of the state-of-the-art studio are:

  •     An anchor desk console that rotates 359 degrees.
  •      Seven different sets, each with its own LCD HD monitor.
  •     Nine cameras, two with special effects to swoop and circle the set overhead on a track.
  •     Spectacular lighting created with backlighting by 850 fluorescent lights and lower bands of LED lighting to change colors.

Upon completion of the transition to the HD studio in 2008, almost all of the programming on the network will originate in the true HD format. The network will have production and transmission technology in place to provide select field coverage of severe weather in HD starting with this hurricane season. June 2 will mark the first HD shots from the field for the network. Storm Tracker Jim Cantore will provide live shots which will be uplinked from Miami Beach via the TWC HD-equipped satellite truck.

A Final Distinction
In addition to breaking new ground in the presentation of weather in HD, The Weather Channel established another important precedent by making its ground-up HD facility a "green" building. Due to its commitment to be environmentally-responsible, the company designed the facility, which adjoins the company's headquarters in Atlanta, to meet specifications for a silver level (or possibly higher) certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organization.

About The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel, a 24-hour weather network, is seen in more than 96 million U.S. households. The Weather Channel reaches more than 38 million unique users online each month and is the most popular source of online weather, news and information according to Nielsen//Net Ratings. The Weather Channel also operates Weatherscan, a 24-hour, all-local weather network available in 22 million households, The Weather Channel Radio Network, The Weather Channel Newspaper Services, and is the leading weather information provider for emerging technologies. This includes broadband and interactive television applications and wireless weather products including the most popular content site on the mobile Web. The Weather Channel is owned by Landmark Communications, Inc., a Norfolk, VA-based, privately held media company.

For more information on The Weather Channel Companies, including press releases, images, executive information and backgrounders please visit http://www.weather.com/press.

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Connie Malko
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