The Big HD Question

Since we’ve launched our second channel, Live 5+, one of the biggest questions we’ve received is, “Why isn’t Live 5+ in HD?”

It’s a simple question, but the answer gets complicated. And when it comes to engineering matters, your Live 5 Insider is quick to turn to the experts. Fortunately, we have one of the best engineering teams you’ll find, so we don’t have to look hard for an answer.

It turns out that the problem relates to bandwidth limits decided by the Federal Communications Commission.

“Digital television stations have a total of about 20 Mega Bits worth of information that they can transmit,” Live 5 WCSC Chief Enginner Mike Miller said. “An HD channel like Live 5 News (5.1) takes up about 14 Mega Bits of the total 20 Meg that we have to operate with. Another 1 Meg is dedicated to PSIP, or Program Guide and Channel Identifier information leaving us with a total of 5 Mega Bits left over for Channel 5.2. This is not enough bandwidth to operate another HD channel, which is why Live5+ is an SD channel.”

But that’s not necessarily the end of the story. Mike says he’s confident that it won’t stay this way forever: “It will only be a matter of time until broadcast manufacturers devise a way to compress both signals in such a way as to be able to air two HD programs on one channel.”

So that’s why Live 5+ is in standard definition.

At least, for now. Stay tuned.

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