Stinchcomb speaks on current, future of high def landscape

LAS VEGAS — Executive VP/General Manager HDTV and New Media, Discovery Communications, Inc. Clint Stinchcomb keynoted NATPE Thursday by saying, “There’s zero doubt in my mind that the whole world will go HD.”

In a session moderated by Executive Editor, News, Variety, Elizabeth Guider, Stinchcomb spoke of the current and future HD landscape. He said that 20-22 million U.S. households out of a total of 110 million currently have HDTV. Stinchcomb predicts that by 2008 half of the sets sold here will be HD. “People gravitate toward better picture quality,” he explained.

By the mid-’90s, Discovery began shooting in high def before any sets were out there. Stinchcomb said that by the time they launched their network, they had 100 hours of HD content “we had cobbled together.” Since costs are coming down, he believes that the whole world will transition to HD given time. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to establish and connect with viewers that were not maniacal viewers,” Stinchcomb added.

New for Discovery is their “Atlas” series which will hit the airways here in September. This ambitious project will chronicle the people and places of the world in the best high def. It is a $70 million initiative calling for 35 specials over the next seven years.

Upcoming in late March, Discovery Channel will bow “Planet Earth,” an 11-hour series about the natural world and wildlife, which will be simulcast on Discovery HD Theater. “Bugs look great in HD,” he quipped. “Anything that has any sort of staying power, we will do in HD.”

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