It Appears the July Book was Good to WREG and I’ve Got a Question About Those Field Cameras at WMC

I received some numbers about the July book from the good folks at the station Down On The River.  According to the numbers they’re circulating, WREG won ALL news time slots in July from early morning late night with the exception of the 6pm time slot which wasn’t mentioned in the release.  My posting of such information usually prompts responses from some folks at other stations that all the numbers aren’t in yet but Hey, I’m just repeating what they’re saying DOTR.  If that is indeed the case, congrats to WREG.  As a caveat, I’ve found that over the years the winners of the July ratings book like to promote their successes while those who don’t win will tell you that the July book is not that big of a deal because of summer viewing habits.  Still, a win is a win and bragging rights are bragging rights and according to this release WREG has earned bragging rights.

And speaking of bragging rights, I received a release from WMC a couple of weeks ago (July 29th) regarding their status as the only station in Memphis broadcasting their local news in HD.  They went on to mention that their field cameras are now shooting in 16:9 aspect ratio.  For those not up to speed on aspect ratios, the standard def aspect ratio is 4:3 while the 16:9 aspect ratio is what is seen on high def TVs.  However, the 16:9 aspect ratio does not necessarily mean something is shot in HD which leads me to my question:  Are WMC videographers shooting in the field in HD or just SD with 16:9 format.  That wasn’t clear to me in the news release.  I’m hoping to get some clarification on that.  Still, even if field video is shot in SD but in a 16:9 format it will help smooth the visual transition for those of us still hobbling around our decrepit SD TVs. In fact, aren’t all TV stations supposed to be switching over the 16:9 format?  I know the folks at WKNO tell me they are and I’m not sure if it is an FCC mandate or whether it’s just good form as we countdown to the big switch to digital early next year.  So many questions.  I’m just needing answers.  Can anybody help out a blogger?

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9 Comments on “It Appears the July Book was Good to WREG and I’ve Got a Question About Those Field Cameras at WMC”

  1. Allie Says:

    We have HDtv, HD programming package thru Dish and all the required HD cables and such. We can watch 16:9 HD shows on something like the Smithsonian Channel. So when we heard WMC was now in HD we thought we would see similar quality as on Smithsonian. HA! How naive we were. We don’t get it. It looks the same as always. And here’s the weird twist. My parents just got their whole new HD set up, new tv, new hd satellite, etc…and my mom says WMC IS in HD on her tv! So what gives???? Oh well, it doesn’t matter that much anyway. We usually turn the news on Channel 5 for about 5 seconds, then switch to 3, wait around for the weather and then watch something else.

  2. joelarkins Says:

    As an SD viewer (for the time being anyway) I can’t speak to this for a certainty but I’m told that watching WMC’s weather in HD is quite impressive. According to my “HD hook-up” the weather REALLY stands out on WMC with the HD graphics and all that stuff. Again I’ve only seen it in SD so I can’t attest to this personally. In a way this whole HD thing with any station or network is a lot like the whole “Wizard of Oz” thing when I was growing up. I never really understood why everyone got excited about TWOZ when Dorothy opened the door of her house into Munchkinland. That’s because until about 1975 I had never seen TWOZ in COLOR so I never knew that when she stepped into Oz that everything went from sepia to color. It makes a big difference to have the right viewing experience. My wife tells me by next year we may be ready to step into “Oz”.

  3. Tvnewseditor Says:

    I can’t speak for Memphis, but here in Seattle, we’re shooting SD 16:9 and we broadcast our news in HD. Our live trucks are still SD, though and you can really tell the diffrence when a reporter is doing an SD live shot with HD graphics on the screen. It makes the live shot look really crappy while the supers are (no pun iuntended) super crisp!

  4. tvguy Says:

    WMC shoots SD 16:9 in the field and with their chopper.

  5. Richard Says:

    My video camera will shoot in 16:9 wide ratio in SD format. It’s just an SD cam anyway.
    I wonder about WMC’s HD because I do notice that while watching the Olympics, which is in 16:9 format, WMC’s ads for their HD news are shown in 4:3 format. At least they were last night.

    I would much rather see an SD program shot in 16:9 format than to watch a 4:3 format “stretched” to fill a wide screen at the station!

    HD television will ruin you when it comes to standard 4:3 SD televisions! Has me anyway!

  6. joelarkins Says:

    My camera shoots SD in both 4:3 and 16:9 and also shoots HD in 16:9. I have clients ask if I’m capable of shooting in HD but so far none of my folks are ready to move forward on it. They are asking for 16:9 format though since that has the initial appearance with the wider screen. I think my wife is more concerned than ever that I will be bitten by the HD bug and that I will start whining about needing to upgrade. Right now she’s keeping me out of the big box stores where they sell HDTV and I’m content with what I’m watching.

  7. Richard Says:

    Has your wife seen an HD broadcast? If so, was she impressed at all? My wife just wanted a flat screen television when we bought ours and for some reason, she thought we needed an HD receiver.
    Even though she’s not impressed with the HD, she will comment about how clear the picture is. Go figure!
    It’s kind of nice to be able to sit back some 8 to 10 feet and be able to read the fine print on the bottom ot the television screen…..even with my old eyes.

    Your wife has a legit concern about you getting “bit” by the HD bug Mr. Larkins!!

  8. joelarkins Says:

    To my knowledge my wife has NOT viewed an HD broadcast. Hmmmmm, maybe that’s what I need to do. All I need to do is wait until college football gets underway in a couple of weeks and let her watch an SEC game in HD. Heck, she’d probably drive me over to Best Buy to pick up an HD set that day!

  9. fly on the wall Says:

    Doesn’t matter what format WMC uses, it’s still a cartoon show.

    MREG has the best news, and they don’t insult your intelligence with all the clown colors & goofy graphics.

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