ABC's "Good Morning America" will go high- definition starting this fall — getting a jump on its competitors.
Both "GMA's" weekday and weekend editions will air in high-definition, most likely by October or thereabouts.
It will mark the first time ever that regularly scheduled commercial network news programming will air in HDTV, which produces a much sharper picture due to better resolution.
"We did [high-definition] in connection with the [presidential] inauguration and we were struck by how effective it was," says ABC News president David Westin. "The applications are dramatic."
Westin said the "GMA" studios will be revamped to accommodate the new high-definition cameras and equipment — and that other ABC News programs will eventually follow suit.
"That will be coming inevitably," he said. "We decided to try this where it made the most sense. We can do things with 'GMA' where [high-definition] can affect our programming."
ABC is also planning to match the video coming in from the field — which isn't shot in high-definition — as closely as possible to the in-studio high-definition picture.
"Viewers will certainly see a difference between the studio and the material coming in from the field, but it won't be as stark as today's standard definition [picture] as compared to high-definition," says Preston Davis, president of ABC's broadcast operations and engineering.
"What we do is 'up-convert' the tape to give it the same resolution as high-definition," Davis says.
As it stands now, "GMA's" competitors, the "Today" show on NBC and "The Early Show" on CBS, won't be airing in high-definition by the fall.
"Our main [high-definition] focus to this point has been sports and entertainment," a CBS News spokesman said.
NBC officials were unavailable for comment.