First HDTV Broadcast of 1999

1999 started off in fine detail for the thousands of early adopters who have picked up a high-definition television. January 1, the 110th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, was broadcast to digital-television viewers for the first time in full 1920x1080 HDTV. Tribune Broadcasting's KTLA-DT transmitted this year's parade in hi-def using a National Mobile Television (NMT) remote broadcast truck, known as the HD-2.

KTLA first demonstrated HDTV during last year's parade, and, during the broadcast, showed 40 seconds of the HD-created signal downconverted to NTSC to television viewers. According to Frank Geraty, director of engineering and broadcast operations at KTLA, the success of last year's demonstration and KTLA's official launch of HD transmission on October 29 made this year's hi-def production of the parade a natural step for the station. "We were the first station to broadcast the Tournament of Roses Parade, in 1947, and also the first station to broadcast the parade in color, in 1955," said Geraty. "We are happy to once again be on the cutting edge of television broadcasting as we become the first station to transmit the parade in high-definition."

NMT's HD-2 hi-def truck is based in Los Angeles and is designed to be used for live entertainment and sporting events nationally. The truck is outfitted with Sony high-definition equipment, including multiple Sony HDC-700 studio cameras and HDC-750 field cameras, which were used to shoot the parade. Sony's 24-bit digital recording and mixing console, the Oxford OXF-R3, is the centerpiece of audio equipment in the HD-2 truck, which also features 28" (viewable area, measured diagonally) HDM-2830/4 hi-def monitors in production control.

"The Tournament of Roses parade will be the first of many Los Angeles events to be produced in high-definition by HD-2," said Frank Coll, vice president of the Western Division of NMT. "We are excited to be able to offer not only standard-definition digital, but digital high-definition production capabilities, to the Los Angeles area."

Says Chris Summey of Sony, "Back in 1995, when NMT first debuted a standard-definition digital truck, there was considerable skepticism that a market existed to support it. But NMT's aggressive presence and professional operation led the market to accept a growing number of SDTV trucks. Venues such as the Tournament of Roses Parade are proving that there will be a similarly strong acceptance for the HDTV trucks, which will bring 1920x1080 resolution---the highest-definition digital signal format---to new audiences."

KTLA's coverage of the 110th Tournament of Roses parade marked the first time a program had been simultaneously broadcast in HDTV, SDTV, and NTSC using the AC-3 5.1 digital audio format.