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WISH-TV To Air DTV Multicasts

An Indianapolis broadcaster will conduct one of the first tests of digital television multicasting when it televises multiple early-round games of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

CBS affiliate WISH-TV said it would use the “cutting-edge” technology to multicast tournament games on March 16, 17, 18, 19, 23 and 24. The station will later carry the CBS Network 1080i HDTV transmission of the NCAA Final Four Championships, which Thomson has agreed to underwrite.

Under the schedule, the primary CBS telecast for the Indianapolis market will be broadcast on analog WISH-TV, channel 8. The other remaining games will be multicast on the WISHDT channels. LWS, WISH-TV’s 24-hour local weather station, will also be simultaneously broadcast on one of the four WISHDT channels, the broadcaster said in a prepared statement.

“With the 2000 Final Four and NCAA headquarters now located in Indianapolis, it’s an exciting project that will offer an opportunity for our viewers,” said Scott Blumenthal, WISH-TV president. “Thanks to CBS, this partnership with Channel 8 will lead to the most comprehensive demonstration to date of the flexibility of digital TV from the multicasting of the early rounds to the high-definition presentation of the Final Four and the championship game.”

Only viewers with over-the-air digital receivers will be able to access the games. Thomson and retailer H. H. Gregg will host public demonstrations during the event to introduce multicasting and HDTV to the market.