Susan Dahlin Referred To As “HDTV Queen” By Colleagues

Susan Dahlin Referred To As The “HDTV Queen” By Colleagues

Susan Dahlin, Capitol Broadcasting’s special project marketing director, has become known as the “HDTV Queen” by industry colleagues for her tireless efforts to promote the technology. But, according to the News and Observer Newspaper (N & O), she is fighting an uphill battle as the paper finds it is taking longer than expected for HDTV to catch on with the public.

Karin Schill, N & O Staff Writer, began the story with an interview with Paul Nederveen, a Raleigh local that has an HDTV set and invites friends over to watch special events, much like America did when color television made the scene 45 years ago. Unlike many of his counterparts, the Raleigh resident didn’t mind paying over $4,000 for a high definition set. Like many set owners, however, he is frustrated by the lack of programming.

Susan Dahlin is trying hard to promote HDTV at every opportunity. Capitol Broadcasting began airing the HD signal in July 1996 has spent about $10 million to upgrade its equipment and build a new HDTV-capable tower. CBC estimates that only 100 to 200 homes in its viewing area of 2.8 million people have sets that can receive the signal.

Among Dahlin’s more recent marketing initiatives was a North Carolina nature film produced by Capitol Broadcasting in the high-definition format for the new N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, a destination for thousands of visitors every year.

Dahlin told the reporter, “Our business plan … is to stay in business. The problem with this transition is that there are too many people standing back waiting when you need more people to go out on a limb like we did to push this technology. I think it’s been a disappointment all the way around.”

There were many reasons cited for the slow transition to the digital format: from manufactures to advertisers to the television networks themselves. One specific problem was encountered when CBS produced an episode of “Chicago Hope,” only to find that the picture was so clear that viewers could tell they were looking at a production set — not a hospital.

But Chuck Sherman, executive vice president of television for the National Association of Broadcasters, told Schill, “Nobody should be surprised that HDTV has been slow to gain widespread acceptance. Everybody should be aware that television as we know it today will eventually be obsolete — whether it takes five years, or 15, or 20. Television itself was introduced in 1940, but it didn’t get fully accepted until 1960. It takes time for things to happen.”

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