KTXS made Abilene television history by becoming the first TV station to broadcast its local news in high definition ? with its 5 p.m. news show on Wednesday.
The Bonten Media Group, parent company for ABC-affiliated KTXS, also on Wednesday brought high definition broadcast news to cable viewers in the San Angelo market on KTXE-TV, an ABC affiliate.
In addition to the introduction of high definition local news, KTXS will be using the TruVu MAX weather system ? featuring clear, dramatic weather graphics ? and considered the most advanced system on the market today, said Kyle Krebs, vice president and general manager of KTXS.
?Our viewers hold us to a higher standard and with KTXS News in high definition, they will be very pleased with this tremendous upgrade to their viewing experience,? Krebs said. ?KTXS has long been the innovator in the market and now joins an elite group of stations nationwide that broadcast news in HD.?
To celebrate and highlight the switch to high definition, KTXS News will offer its viewers an HD look at beautiful scenes around the Big Country in a 90-second video closing of the 10 p.m. news.
For the next three weeks, the 10 p.m. news Sunday through Friday will close with exclusive high definition video taken by KTXS videographers featuring landmarks, university campuses, state parks and sights across Abilene and the Big Country. The first such video, closing the 10 p.m. news Wednesday, will be the recent Abilene Fourth of July fireworks ? seen for the first time ever in high definition.
KTXS News Director George Levesque called the HD launch a ?seminal moment for KTXS and for Abilene. It gives people a chance to see for the first time amazing detail of the cities, towns and counties they live in.?
The most remarkable change for many viewers, he said, may be the dramatic weather graphics ? with a computer system so advanced that KTXS meteorologists now have the option of zooming in on specific buildings or houses in the path of a storm.
?The new system ties in perfectly with the live Doppler radar sitting on our roof,? Levesque said.
Krebs added, ?Now viewers will be able to see the seven-minute StormTracker radar advantage that KTXS has ? in high definition.?
Bonten Media Group President and CEO Randy Bongarten said, ?Our substantial investment in being the first to bring local HD news to the Big Country and Concho Valley is tangible evidence of Bonten?s commitment to leadership and to meeting the needs of our West Texas viewers.?
For the upgrade to HD local news, KTXS chose Panasonic P2 HD field cameras and studio cameras.
KTXS also is now using the Bitcentral news editing system, which is widely used by television companies, such as ABC, NBC and CNN, and Grass Valley provided the production switcher.
?Our equipment vendors met the requirements we established for the HD build-out and have been strong partners in the process,? said Tom Cupp, Bonten vice president of engineering.