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Scott Walton, Executive Director of Communications
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|KQED PUBLIC TELEVISION INTRODUCES FIVE NEW DIGITAL CHANNELS ON COMCAST CABLE AND OVER-THE-AIR|
KQED First Bay Area Broadcaster to Offer Multiple Television Channels Through a Digital Broadcast Signal
New Channels Bring More Quality Programs at Additional Convenient Times to KQED Viewers
San Francisco, California, August 5, 2003 -- On the forefront of media technology, KQED Public Television has become the first Bay Area broadcaster to offer multiple digital channels, each with distinct quality programming. Comcast Cable will offer the new KQED digital channels via its upgraded digital network. The five new channels, KQED HD (high-definition television), KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life and KQED Kids, add dramatically enhanced program choices to what Northern California viewers already enjoy on KQED 9.
As one of the first public television stations in the nation, KQED has long been on the leading edge of broadcast technology. In May 2000, the station became the first public broadcaster to transmit a digital signal in Northern California. In July 2003, KQED converted its operations and equipment from a standard (analog) master control system to a digital one. This transformation enables KQED to broadcast up to five different program channels simultaneously and to air programs in high-definition television (HDTV).
The new channels are:
KQED HD (Comcast 188) The best HDTV on TV -- features a variety of high-definition and widescreen PBS programs and KQED
KQED Encore (Comcast 189) Primetime all the time -- the most popular PBS programs and KQED productions.
KQED World (Comcast 190) Thought-provoking television -- history, local and world events, nature, news and science programming.
KQED Life (Comcast 191) Shows that educate, enrich and entertain -- arts and entertainment, food, gardening, how-to, money management and travel programming.
KQED Kids (Comcast 192) Quality shows that kids will love and parents will appreciate.
"This is an incredible opportunity for KQED as a leader and innovator within public broadcasting and the Bay Area community," said Jeff Clarke, president and CEO of KQED Public Broadcasting. "Offering multiple KQED program services ensures that our viewers have more choices and more information, while our high-definition channel promises them the ultimate viewing experience."
"Now that we've launched HDTV on our upgraded networks, our customers can count on us to consistently expand and enhance our channel line-up with the newest, most compelling content available," said John Vonk, Vice President of Marketing for Comcast's Western Division. "KQED's new channels were an ideal choice. They enable us to give our customers terrific additional value, and show our support for our local Bay Area communities by airing perhaps the best, highest-quality educational programming in the nation."
KQED HD will showcase HDTV and widescreen programs. With a picture quality that is six times sharper than regular television and CD-quality surround sound, HDTV dramatically improves the quality of the television picture. KQED will also transmit four new standard definition (SD) channels: KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life and KQED Kids. These digital channels also offer a significantly higher quality picture than analog television.
"In a digital environment, we can create and deliver content more efficiently; and facilitate collaborations between our different media -- KQED Television, KQED Radio, KQED.org and KQED Education Network (EdNet), as well as with partners around the globe," said John Boland, executive vice-president and chief content officer. "Most noticeable to our viewers, however, is the fact that we can simply offer more programming -- more and better KQED."
The new channels offer KQED's audience unprecedented viewing options. Public broadcasting's best and most popular programs will be repeated at additional times. Programs typically seen during a particular segment of the day will be available at alternative times (i.e. children's programming in the evening and adult programming during the day). The channels will also make room for wonderful quality programs that could not previously fit into KQED Channel 9's schedule.
KQED's digital television channels are available from Comcast Cable. Comcast customers who have an HDTV-ready television set can rent a digital set-top converter that includes an HDTV tuner, allowing them to view channels broadcast in high-definition. Comcast offers KQED's other four new digital channels as part of its upgraded digital service without an HDTV-ready television set or an HDTV set-top converter. To learn more about how to receive the new channels via Comcast, call 1-800-COMCAST or visit Comcast on the Web at comcast.com.
KQED's digital television channels are also available over-the-air on DTV 9.1-9.5 for those viewers who have a digital television, tuner and antenna. Visit KQED's Web site at KQED.org/dtv to learn more about how to receive the new channels.
Previous to KQED's digital conversion, the station broadcast an analog picture, based on an analog transmission system (NTSC) which is more than 50 years old, and relies on a system of varying voltages to transmit a television picture. In a digital broadcast, images and sound are processed using the same digital code found in computers: converting each element in a complete video picture to a binary code composed of 1s and 0s. The result is a picture with much sharper detail and better color than the analog standards in current use.
KQED'S digital conversion is funded by the KQED Campaign for the Future. In response to the unfunded federal mandate to convert television broadcast technology from analog to digital, KQED Public Broadcasting has embarked on its $70 million Campaign for the Future. The initiative is an effort to secure funding from individuals, corporations and foundations for the conversion to digital technology for television and radio; the development and production of new and existing television and radio programs; and the transition of KQED's infrastructure to move toward the digital future. The KQED Campaign for the Future also encourages broad-based strategic partnerships with other organizations throughout the region.
KQED Public Broadcasting operates KQED Public Television 9, one of the nation's most-watched public television stations during prime-time, and KQED's digital television channels, which include KQED HD, KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life and KQED Kids; KQED Public Radio, the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service (88.5 FM in San Francisco and 89.3 FM in Sacramento); KQED.org, one of the most visited station sites in Public Broadcasting; and KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and resources.