'Enterprise' Shooting In High Definition

By Christian
June 14, 2001 - 11:54 AM

It isn't yet the holodeck, but Paramount Pictures is apparently planning to give Star Trek fans a more immersive viewing experience with Enterprise. According to new reports, Series V is currently being shot in the high definition television format (HDTV), promising high-quality images both on some television stations and for the eventual DVD release.

Sources suggest unfamiliarity with the high definition format caused some problems early during the production of the Enterprise pilot, but these all seem to have been worked out now. With the show available in HDTV format, it will be possible for UPN to offer a high-quality version to those network affiliates who are also offering digital broadcasts.

UPN has previously not been very active in supporting the format, and it is at this point unknown whether Enterprise will be shown in HDTV during its initial broadcast. In any case, this should lead to a much higher image quality for the show's eventual DVD release.

HDTV was introduced several years ago as the successor to the current analogue television system. HDTV broadcasts are shown in a higher resolution and are also presented in the 16x9 widescreen format. For at least the next half decade and probably longer, high definition programming will also be broadcast in the old analogue format. This is still being used by the overwhelming majority of the public, as the high prices of HDTV-capable TVs and the lack of HDTV programming available has limited the format's popularity.

Despite this, an increasing amount of television shows are being shot in high definition, both to prepare for the future and to have source material for a release on DVDs, which also offer a higher definition than regular videotapes. Some of the science-fiction shows that are currently being shot in high definition include The X-Files, Stargate SG-1 and Earth: Final Conflict. In addition, most productions for cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are also shot and presented in high definition.

Among the broadcast networks, UPN sister network CBS has been the most active in adopting the HDTV format. As outlined on its special HDTV site, the majority of its primetime programming and even daytime shows such as The Young and the Restless are now available in HDTV. NBC's The Tonight Show, most of ABC's movies and the aforementioned The X-Files on Fox are also shown in HDTV. Smaller networks such as the WB and UPN have shown little to no support of the format.

While only few programs are shown in HDTV, even fewer stations are actually capable of broadcasting digital television. For affiliates of the minor networks or stations in smaller markets, the cost of installing the necessary broadcasting equipment is often too high. As a result only a handful of UPN affiliates currently support the format. However, these include stations in major markets such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Paramount or UPN have made no announcement yet on whether or if the show will be broadcast in HDTV or whether the show will also be released on DVD anywhere within the next few years. As usual, until Paramount makes official announcements about the next series, please treat any news from unofficial sources as you would any rumour.

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