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Durham Bulls Make History on Two Fronts

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An HDTV set on display at Friday night's Durham Bulls game.
DURHAM — It's an historic weekend at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

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

This is also an important weekend for television viewers, though they maynot 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 inthe digital format, but Friday's game was beamed into space -- thefirst 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. KenFouts, the HDTVdirector at Friday night's ballgame, says that the satellite broadcast wasthe latest milestone on the road toward a big change for American TVbroadcasting.

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

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

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

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

Prototype HDTV sets should be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show inJanuary 1998. The first commercial sets should hit the market in late1998.

The FCC has planned for most TV stations to broadcast both a standard TVsignal and an HDTV digital signal by the year 2000. It is anticipatedthat stations will switch completely to high-definition broadcasting by2007.

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

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