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Waiting on CW HD

By RD Heldenfels Published: October 9, 2006

In Northeast Ohio, you can find old episodes of ''Smallville'' in HD thanks to HDNet. But you can't see the current ones in that format yet.

The reason: Local CW affiliate WBNX (Channel 55) still hasn't gotten its HD signal up and running. That may change in a few weeks, but even that's not dead cert.

Station manager Lou Spangler told me today that it took the station 3 1/2 years to get a permit for its digital channel because of a Canadian TV station feared transmission conflicts. Once it got over that hurdle, it hoped to have the digital signal -- and HD with it -- running by Aug. 1, and tweaked into readiness for viewers by Labor Day, before the new TV season began.

But there have been problems that Spangler -- an admitted non-techie -- summed up as ''computers that won't talk to computers.''

Now, he's hoping for a tests in late October and a formal launch by Nov. 1.

But even that will just be a signal for the likes of the cable companies to pick up. WBNX doesn't expect to have its over-the-air digital antenna in hand until late this year, when winter would interfere with construction, so it will probably be April before WBNX has over-the-air digital transmissions.

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