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All HD, all the time

Next Sunday, WRAL-TV Raleigh, N.C., will follow up Survivor II
with a first as it begins a new "all-HD" era. With the use of 29 Panasonic HD DVC PRO cameras, a Sony production switcher, and a new studio, the pioneering HDTV station will do all of its news and public-affairs programming in HD, while continuing to frame it for the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio (HD is generally 16:9).

Satellite trucks will be used for ENG purposes as the station outfits its six ENG vehicles to make them capable of transmitting HDTV. "We believe in HD and downconverted HD is still better than analog," says Capitol Broadcasting President John Greene Jr. How much did the move cost? "A lot," he laughs.