Local News

Durham Bulls Make History on Two Fronts

Posted August 30, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— It's an historic weekend at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

This weekend marks the final game of the Durham Bulls in the Carolina League. Next year, the Bulls will become a Class AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

This is also an important weekend for television viewers, though they may not notice it for a few more years.

Raleigh's WRAL-HD, the nation's first high-definition television station, taped Friday night's ballgame in HDTV. They have taped a game before in the digital format, but Friday's game was beamed into space -- the first HDTV signal ever transmitted via satellite.

The signal was received at the HDTV Model Station, located at WRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC.

Friday's transmission was a big event in HDTV history. Ken Fouts, the HDTV director at Friday night's ballgame, says that the satellite broadcast was the latest milestone on the road toward a big change for American TV broadcasting.

HDTV is drastically different from today's standard television. Today's standard TV sets are four units wide and three units high. HDTV sets are 16 units wide and nine units high -- the same aspect ratio as that of a movie screen.

HDTV's digital signals carry six times the amount of video information that conventional analog television signals can carry. That means that HDTV viewers will get a sharper picture than ever before. HDTV sets have two times the resolution of today's TV sets.

Along with an astonishingly sharp picture, HDTV viewers will also get multi-channel CD-quality sound.

HDTV pioneer and Capitol Broadcasting President and CEO Jim Goodmon says that HDTV is here to stay. In fact, he says that some people are more impressed with HDTV than with their seats at the ball game.

Prototype HDTV sets should be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1998. The first commercial sets should hit the market in late 1998.

The FCC has planned for most TV stations to broadcast both a standard TV signal and an HDTV digital signal by the year 2000. It is anticipated that stations will switch completely to high-definition broadcasting by 2007.

Capitol Broadcasting's WRAL-HD celebrated its one-year anniversary earlier this month.