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Finally: ABS-CBN Newscasts Move to High Definition

Here is some good news for Kapamilya viewers.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, newscasts on ABS-CBN Channel 2 began to air on 16:9 high definition. The conversion began with the 10:00 a.m. ‘News Patrol’, followed by the network’s flagship newscasts ‘TV Patrol’ (both weekend and weeknight editions) and ‘Bandila’ (both DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN editions).

Here is a comparison of ‘News Patrol’ in standard definition (pre-April 1) and in high definition (since April 1) in the following videos.

News Patrol in 4:3 standard definition (courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

News Patrol in 16:9 high definition (courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

The full implementation of ABS-CBN newscasts in HD marked the latest step in the network’s ongoing conversion to this new television technology. However, the changeover was not an easy one.

When ABS-CBN launched its 16:9 high definition feed in October 2015, only its entertainment programs were able to adopt this new technology. As such, ABS-CBN News programs remained in 4:3 standard definition, and whenever it was shown on ABS-CBN HD, black pillarboxes can be seen.

However, the news division was given a glimmer of hope in March 2016 when the ABS-CBN News Channel premiered its own HD feed. This enabled ABS-CBN News to utilize some of its newly-purchased HD cameras for live reports.

Despite that, Channel 2’s newscasts remained in 4:3 SD, mainly to compensate for the regional outlets’ slow adoption to HD technology. But as the impending switch to high definition became imminent, ABS-CBN realized the need for a change.

Thus came the launch of ABS-CBN’s high definition newscasts on Easter Sunday. It was an odd move to say the least, but it was perfect timing for the network since its news operations on television and radio resume around this time.

As mentioned earlier, ‘News Patrol’, ‘TV Patrol’ and ‘Bandila’ are now seen in 16:9 high definition, but they are not the only newscasts that made the move. Even DZMM TeleRadyo’s ‘Headline Pilipinas’ was also converted to 16:9 HD.

But not all newscasts changed over to the new standard. ‘TV Patrol”s regional versions continue to air in 4:3 SD, as are a majority of ABS-CBN Regional programs and even DZMM TeleRadyo.

Still, there is plenty of time for ABS-CBN to implement the new high definition standard to DZMM and the network’s regional affiliates. But for now, enjoy watching ‘TV Patrol’, ‘Bandila’ and all ABS-CBN newscasts in crystal clear 16:9 HD.

ABS-CBN HD is available exclusively on SkyCable channel 167 and to premium access subscribers on iWant TV. ANC HD is available exclusively on SkyCable channel 182 and to premium access subscribers on iWant TV.

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Coming Soon: ANC HD on SkyCable

The ever-innovative ABS-CBN News Channel will have its own HD channel coming soon. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN is launching a third HD channel soon.

After giving the flagship Channel 2 and Sports+Action its own HD channel (available exclusively on SkyCable), the network finally decided that the time is right for the ABS-CBN News Channel to have an HD channel as well. This announcement took place yesterday in a press conference inside the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center in Quezon City.

According to Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes, the impending launch of ANC HD should cement its position as the gold standard and primary source for Philippine news and analysis for the country’s business and political leaders. She then voiced her thoughts on ANC HD and the channel in general in the statement below.

This is what ANC has continuously strived to be: the best, most reliable, and prestigious English language, all-news channel in the Philippines. There is still a lot more in store for ANC, as we mark twenty years this coming May. Stay tuned for these exciting developments.

Indeed they still have a lot more in store, as two months from now the 2016 national elections will take place. And ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs will have all of it covered, from the campaign period to the day of the voting and eventually the final results.

With the impending launch of ANC HD, how will this affect the news programming of Channel 2 and the Regional Network Group? While ABS-CBN Channel 2 has its own HD channel, some of its news programming (e.g. ‘TV Patrol’) are still shot in standard definition, and as a result, they are still considered a work in progress.

That said, it may take awhile for the ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs to embrace the high definition platform full-time. For now, patience is of the virtue, and for a network that has pioneered HD broadcasting in the country, there is still time to make it all happen.

The assigned channel of ANC HD on SkyCable will be revealed soon. Stay tuned for further details.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Best

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this year.

AlDub Invades Eat Bulaga and the World

The now-popular Kalyeserye segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ began on July 16, as a then-unknown Maine Mendoza (under the Yaya Dub character) caught the eye of rising Kapuso star Alden Richards. Since then, AlDub grew into a social media phenomenon, and it culminated into a slew of advertisements, magazine covers, a supporting role in ‘My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore’, and a sold-out ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ live episode at the Philippine Arena.

While the popularity of AlDub had some negative effects on GMA and its rivals, there is no denying that the duo became the key ingredient that introduced ‘Eat Bulaga’ into a new generation. The 36-year-old variety show is now enjoying its best ratings in years, thanks largely to AlDub.

LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine Dominate Primetime Ratings

While AlDub dominated noontime, primetime belonged to ABS-CBN’s three hottest love teams.  The year began with LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) of ‘Forevermore’ continuing their winning run, before handing it over to KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) of ‘On the Wings of Love’.

The success of LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine were crucial in Primetime Bida’s thorough domination of Telebabad in the national ratings. Although GMA responded with BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) in ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) of ‘Let the Love Begin’, they were unable to make an impact.

A New Sunday Afternoon Habit

August 9 saw a new rival for the 20-year-old ‘ASAP’, but they did not expect it to be different. In came ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, GMA’s newest variety show that emphasized more on comedy than musical performances.

The presence of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Alden RicRhards (with Maine Mendoza later added) helped ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ defeat ‘ASAP’ on a consistent basis. In response, ABS-CBN moved ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ to Sunday afternoons as ‘Banana Sundae’, but it still failed to reverse the trend.

Willie Revillame Returns 

Speaking of Sunday afternoons, May 10 saw the return of Willie Revillame to the small screen with ‘Wowowin’. Initially airing every mid-Sunday afternoons, it later moved to an earlier timeslot after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, where it has since flourished.

Even though Willie faced an arrest warrant over the ‘Willing Willie’ macho dancer kid case, this didn’t stop him from receiving accolades for ‘Wowowin’. The rebirth of the controversial host was capped off with a pair of awards for best game show and host in the PMPC Star Awards.

Wattpad Presents Turns 1

The teleserye dominance of ABS-CBN and GMA did not deter TV5. Following the cancellation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in early November, ‘Wattpad Presents’ became the network’s longest-running active entertainment program, having been on the air for over a year.

Under-appreciated by most television viewers, ‘Wattpad Presents’ was able to make it over a year thanks to an endless supply of new stories and a dedicated fanbase. It is considered a perfect alternative to the long and dragging storylines that a teleserye usually provides.

ABS-CBN Goes Digital and HD

February 11 saw the much-awaited launch of ABS-CBN TVPlus, the first-ever digital terrestrial television service in the country. The so-called ‘mahiwagang black box’ quickly became popular, selling nearly a million units.

Then on October 3, ABS-CBN HD was launched, bringing virtually every program on Channel 2 into crystal clear high definition. And finally, ABS-CBN announced that they will replace Balls HD with ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD starting January 1, ending a six-year run for the network’s first-ever HD channel.

Kapamilya Gold Reloaded

Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 13, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’.

Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.

NCAA Returns to Channel 23; UAAP Extended

After a fruitless three-year tenure with Sports5, the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports in late June. The renewed partnership featured new innovations, such as social media interaction and high-definition broadcasts.

ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Big Two-0

November 27 saw ‘Bubble Gang’ celebrate its 20th anniversary with a documentary special. The 20-year-old gag show continues to defy time, maintaining its status as a Friday night habit despite an evolving cast of talents and advancements in technology.

Also reaching its 20th year is ‘Saksi’, the second longest-running active free TV newscast in the country. So is ‘ASAP’, who despite fading ratings with the entry of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, remains a fixture on Sunday noontime.

Janella, Jana Shine on Lunchtime

Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.

In response, the TAPE-produced talk show starring Ryzza Mae Dizon was rebooted into a drama series as ‘Princess in the Palace’. However, the reformat did not produce the desired results.

2015 was another year to remember for television viewers. Although ABS-CBN continued to reign this year, GMA and TV5 enjoyed their own share of moments as well, and with digitization now underway, the preparation for a full-digitized television signal in the Philippines is on.

So what is in store for 2016? Find out as From the Tube continues to look at events and changes that shape Philippine media.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

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The Demise of Asianovelas on ABS-CBN

Once known for introducing F4 (above) and ‘Meteor Garden’ to Filipino audiences, ABS-CBN has effectively ceased its importation of Asianovelas since the middle of this year. (Photo credit: Meteor Garden ABS-CBN Official Facebook)

Asianovelas on ABS-CBN are now a thing of the past.

The premiere of the teleserye ‘You’re My Home’ last November 9 signaled the end of an era. Gone are the days when ABS-CBN usually reserves the final spot of their weekday afternoon and evening blocks for Asianovelas.

Now they are leaning more towards local programming in an effort to make use of their deep roster of talents. This makes sense, considering that ABS-CBN has the resources and the technology to produce their own programs.

The last Asianovelas aired on ABS-CBN were ‘Let’s Get Married’ and ‘My Lovely Girl’, whose final episodes were aired on June 19 of this year. When the recently-concluded ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ premiered on the weekday slots three days later, many thought this was only a temporary break for Asianovelas on the network.

As it turned out, ABS-CBN has bigger plans in mind. With so many programs currently kept under wraps, management thought it was best to finally devote more time to locally-produced shows.

This led to the entry of more recent teleseryes such as ‘Ningning’, ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’, and the aforementioned ‘You’re My Home’. A few other programs are still being planned, with a target date set for early next year.

Today, the Prime Tanghali, Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida blocks air a combined total of nine teleseryes. More than half of the network’s roster of contract artists are currently utilized in these teleseryes, ranging from child stars like ‘Ningning”s Jana Agoncillo to forty-somethings like ‘You’re My Home”s Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta.

ABS-CBN’s new path should benefit the network in the years to come. Having recently launched ABS-CBN HD, they now strive to take advantage of this new technology by committing more towards local programs, with the intent of broadcasting a purely Filipino programming lineup in the near future.

As for Asianovelas, it’s now GMA’s responsibility to continue airing them. After all, they still have Heart of Asia mornings to keep fans company.

Note: ‘Angel Wings’ is excluded here as it is considered a spiritual successor of the long-running anthology series ‘Chinese Variety Show’. Asianovelas only refer to imported series from Eastern Asian countries that air on weekdays.

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ABS-CBN Continues Transition to HD

ABS-CBN officially launched its new HD channel last Saturday, part of a continuing transition to digital high definition television for the network. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN’s conversion to high definition continues.

On Saturday, the network officially launched ABS-CBN HD, the first-ever HD free TV channel in the Philippines. It is currently available on Channel 167 for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, and Channel 700 for provincial subscribers.

Viewers with a high-definition digibox can enjoy some of ABS-CBN’s most popular programs in crystal clear HD. As of this article, only ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Wansapanatym’, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, ‘ASAP’ and Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida teleseryes are currently shot with HD cameras, with other programming to follow suit.

ABS-CBN began to experiment with high definition television when it launched Balls HD in 2009. The channel’s launch coincided with the opening of UAAP Season 72, which became the first local event to be broadcast in high definition.

Two years later, ‘Budoy’ became the network’s first teleserye to be shot with HD cameras, which was then followed by the network’s other dramas. And just two weeks ago, ‘ASAP’ became the first non-drama program on the network to be shot with HD cameras.

All in all, ABS-CBN’s forays with high-definition and other technologies were signs that the network is seriously preparing for the conversion to digital television here in the Philippines. Not bad for the pioneering television network which was established in 1953.

With the launch of ABS-CBN HD, let’s just hope that in the near future, the other networks will follow suit. This will not be an easy task for the other local networks, but with digitization fast approaching, time is definitely of the essence.

Note: Balls HD, which formerly occupied Channel 167, is now assigned to Channel 195 for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, and Channel 701 for provincial subscribers. ABS-CBN HD can also be seen on iWanTV.

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