news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

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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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs

In Memory of News5

The death of News5 is all but finalized.

On Friday, November 3, TV5 management announced the cancellation of ‘Aksyon sa Umaga’, ‘Aksyon News Alert’ and ‘Aksyon Tonite’ to make way for the newly-rebranded ESPN5 block that will go full swing in December. The only newscasts retained by the network are ‘Aksyon sa Tanghali’ and ‘Aksyon Prime’.

The cancellation of these three programs marked the latest in a saga of changes that deepened News5’s problems. Whether it is the loss of several talents, questionable programming decisions, lack of resources or signal concerns, News5’s issues only served to undermine its abilities as a news-gathering force.

There is no need to discuss what went wrong as this blog already discussed in detail the many problems that News5 faced (and the potential solutions that would have helped). Instead, this article will look back at News5’s contributions during its storied but tenuous run.

News5 started the ‘news on FM radio’ revolution when they launched Radyo5 92.3 News FM back in 2010. A few months after, AksyonTV was born, and at the time, it was the only 24/7 all-Filipino language news channel on free TV.

They also went into a partnership with Bloomberg LP in 2015 and launched Bloomberg TV Philippines, the first Filipino business news channel. Other contributions by the network include News5 Digital, then the only online news channel in the country, and News5 newscasts produced in high definition.

Some of the Philippines’ most talented journalists also made News5 their home. These include current PCOO secretary Martin Andanar, the late Amelyn Veloso, the Tulfo brothers (Ben, Raffy and Erwin), Cheryl Cosim, Ed Lingao, Jove Francisco and former DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado among others.

Finally, News5 did produce some quality programs of their own. Aside from the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts, some of News5’s award-winning shows include ‘T3’, ‘History with Lourd de Veyra’, ‘Kaya’ and ‘Alagang Kapatid’.

Overall, despite all the problems they have faced, News5 still tried its best to keep up with its more superior counterparts in ABS-CBN and GMA. Still, its inevitable demise has viewers thinking what might have been had they smartly made moves to benefit both the technical and the economical aspect of the organization.

Now that Chot Reyes is about to turn TV5 into an S+A clone (for lack of a better term), the promising organization that is News5 is all but a distant memory. The newscasts may keep it alive, but for all intents and purposes, this organization’s days are numbered.

Thanks for all the memories, News5. You’ll be sorely missed.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Encantadia 2016: A Threat or an Afterthought

The returning ‘Encantadia’ will have their hands full against ‘Ang Probinsyano’ when it premieres this Monday. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

It will be the Sang’gres of ‘Encantadia’ against Cardo (Coco Martin) of ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

A lot has been said about the impressive ratings of ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’. After all, this TV adaptation of the classic Fernando Poe, Jr. flick has been reaching the 40% mark of late, blowing out its embarrassed competitor (GMA’s ‘Poor Señorita’) in the dust.

But as ‘Encantadia’ gets underway this Monday, ‘Ang Probinsyano”s momentum could be in doubt. And GMA is going all out in this costly venture of theirs.

The 2016 version of ‘Encantadia’ will be headlined by the four Sang’gres, portrayed by Glaiza de Castro (as Pirena), Kylie Padilla (as Amihan), Gabbi Garcia (as Alena), and Sanya Lopez (as Danaya). Other notable cast members include Marian Rivera, Rocco Nacino, Solenn Heussaff, Ruru Madrid, John Arcilla and Dingdong Dantes.

Director Mark Reyes will breathe new life into this iconic fantaserye. Once again, computer-generated imagery (CGI) will be used extensively, but for this version, updated editing software will be used, along with various other technologies.

But the biggest question surrounding ‘Encantadia’ is whether or not GMA will finally embrace the 16:9 widescreen high definition format. Considering GMA’s continued unwillingness to use the new format (even with the use of HD cameras), it is clear that their old-school mentality may hurt ‘Encantadia”s quality and appeal.

Which is why the Encantadia Saga Facebook fan page went as far as writing an open letter to GMA management. They claimed that using the 16:9 format will bring a full viewing experience to an epic program such as ‘Encantadia’, as opposed to 4:3 which cuts some of the details.

Still, the biggest question surrounding ‘Encantadia’ is whether or not it will be able to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, the first week of the new ‘Encantadia’ will be very crucial, as they try to make an impact against an extremely formidable opponent.

Come this Monday, it will be ‘Encantadia’ against the world. Will they come out on top, or become the latest victim of ‘Ang Probinsyano”s dominance?

Find out starting July 18.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

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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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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In 100 Words: News5 Takes the HD Route

It’s now News5’s turn to take advantage of high definition technology.

Viewers of the Kapatid network may not realize this, but since April 6, News5 programs in both TV5 and AksyonTV are now shot with HD cameras. The end result was the presence of letterboxes throughout programs such as the ‘Aksyon’ group of newscasts, Radyo5 simulcast shows, and even public service programs such as ‘T3 Alliance’.

This latest move on the part of TV5 was part of a gradual transition to HD television, which is currently under test broadcast for the next few years. The Kapatid network started using HD cameras in several of their drama series, and was later adopted for the PBA and other Sports5 events.

News5’s full adoption of HD should pave the way for other news outlets to do the same. Definitely another huge step towards embracing HD television in the Philippines.

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