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WRAL First to Embrace HD for Weather

Over the years WRAL Raleigh, NC, has been consistently one of the first TV stations to move forward with new HDTV technology and it recently became the first in another HD category: High Definition Weather Center.

WRAL make the move with the help of Baron Services and the company’s newly released HD versions of the VIPIR, FasTrac, and StormWarn weather products.

WRAL chief engineer Peter Sockett says the new systems have been working fine since its installation in early April. “It’s more flexible [than the SD gear] and after we hooked it up and looked at in the control room we were amazed at how stunning it looked,” he says.

While most stations HD newscasts typically don’t go beyond the studio walls WRAL is one of the few stations in the nation to have actual HD news crews in the field. Making the move to HD for weather completes the HD newscast puzzle.

With more and more TV stations embracing HD newscasts the ability to deliver HD weather graphics becomes important. It also helps make the information more valuable to viewers as wide-screen maps can display weather conditions over a wider area.

“The market for quality HD content is not expanding; it’s exploding. We believe that demand extends to weather coverage, as well,” says Bob Baron, Baron Services president and CEO.

It wasn’t too long ago that 3D weather graphics would have required dedicated and powerful workstations. But VIPIR HD uses the Windows XP operating system and requires a high-end PC with 512MB video RAM, as well as a DVI connection.

Baron Services says all three of the company’s core products benefit from HD. “FasTrac, our 2D storm tracker, looks great in high-def, featuring crisp visuals and full widescreen presentation while StormWarn, our HD-capable alert crawl, provides warnings and radar display in a customizable layout,” says Baron. “And VIPIR represents the total package, delivering a complete weather show in high-def and with not one second of rendering time.”