Northeast Ohio HDTV Update

A number of items all having to do with high-definition TV and Northeast Ohio:

NO CW HD YET: Unless we’ve missed something, it doesn’t appear that the Cleveland market’s new CW Network affiliate will be airing the network’s shows in HDTV with The CW’s launch on Monday.

All indications are that Winston Broadcasting’s WBNX-TV/55 has been working feverishly on completing its HDTV operation…with the digital permit for WBNX-DT/30 finally being issued a few months ago.

But we have no word that the signal will be on the air soon. We haven’t seen WBNX testing its new digital signal, which would certainly be required before going live. And we have no word that the station will attempt to send out a cable-only signal before that.

(We’d assume that if the new over-air signal was coming soon, the station would not attempt a separate cable feed, unless they were going to be using that feed to send the digital signal to local cable operators long-term…)

HD WHEEL: If you’ve longed to watch “Wheel of Fortune” in HD, you may well be able to do so later this month in Northeast Ohio.

The popular syndicated game show has upgraded its studio and control room, and offers an HDTV version of the show to affiliates starting this season. OMW hears that you could see HD “Wheel” broadcasts on local ABC outlet and “Wheel” affiliate WEWS/5 as soon as September 25th…

HD B-BALL: OMW hears that FOX Sports Net Ohio is preparing to air 20 Cleveland Cavaliers’ games in high-definition for the upcoming NBA season.

The cable channel, which recently locked up a new deal to air 70 Cavs games a year, did eight HD games late last season.

HD CLEARER: And OMW also hears that viewers of Youngstown NBC affiliate WFMJ/21’s digital signal could get a stronger signal by the end of the month.

The station is readying a power upgrade to WFMJ-DT, which will more than double the current power level when it’s completed. WFMJ-DT also carries sister CW network outlet WBCB on a subchannel.

Piedmont CBS affiliate WKBN-DT will still have a stronger signal, but viewers in the eastern part of the Cleveland market should have a better chance at WFMJ’s digital signal with the upgrade.

Lagging behind in the Digital TV Signal Wars in the Youngstown market is WYTV/33 (DT 36). The Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate has a fraction of the digital power of its two commercial competitors…and there’s no upgrade in the works. But it’s far from the first time that WYTV has been third to WKBN and WFMJ…

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