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AP Finishes HD Transition

After 18 months of work and a multimillion dollar investment upgrading its facilities, the Associated Press has completed its HD rollout by beginning to delivering video news in high definition to its customers.

The agency has been billing the move as "the largest rollout of HD by any news agency globally."

As part of a phased rollout of HD service, AP began offering entertainment news in HD in November 2011 and then launched HD sports news as part of its joint venture with Sports News Television (SNTV) in January 2012.

With the launch of HD video news content this week, the agency has beat its previously announced plans of completing the HD upgrades prior to the start of Summer Olympics in July and the U.S. presidential campaign this fall.

Customers can still, however, receive the feeds in standard definition if they prefer.

In a statement, Sandy MacIntyre, VP and director of international video news, AP, stressed that the upgrades have also streamlined and improved their workflows and newsgathering efforts: "This upgrade to HD is not just about supercharging our equipment and technology infrastructure. It has the needs of the customer at its heart and the quality of AP journalism coursing through its veins. AP has completely transformed its video business from camera to customer. As well as working with new cameras and cutting-edge editing and transmission software, we now have more video journalists providing regionally relevant content from more places than ever before."

As part of the upgrades, the company deployed more than 200 HD cameras, upgraded mobile satellite trucks and enhanced backhaul capabilities to handle the HD signal. Video news bureaus around the globe were also upgraded to new video editing, compression and transmission technologies and state-of-the-art HD master control rooms were constructed in more than 20 locations, including London, New York and Washington.

In addition, AP's production systems in New York and Washington have been upgraded for HD production and in London AP installed a new production system that allows journalists to edit HD content at their desktops.

AP Senior Vice President Daisy Veerasingham, who called "the HD launch a major milestone for AP," also noted in a statement that the upgrades would improve the way they supplied content to more devices and help the their customers adapt to the rapidly changing news business.

"Not only are we now fully HD for customers, but we can deliver our content on more platforms than ever before," she noted.