Thinking Inside the Box


by Ellis Bromberg, General Manager of MPTV

I suspect some of you received a digital TV as a gift this holiday season, and you've no doubt been admiring the gorgeous pictures and sounds you're now able to receive.

Digital TV offers many advantages over analog television in the area of audio and video quality. It also enables TV stations new ways to broadcast: in High Definition and in Standard Definition Multicast.

High Definition, or HDTV, gets the most attention. It offers an unparalleled viewing experience, and more and more programs are being produced in HD every month. In January, for example, NOVA: THE MUMMY WHO WOULD BE KING, THE WAR THAT MADE AMERICA, NATURE: LIFE IN DEATH VALLEY, and the MPTV production 4th STREET FORUM are just some of our new programs you can see in HD. You can find them on MPTV-HD, channel 36-1 over-the-air (channel 510 on Time Warner Cable's digital tier).

During the holiday shopping season, I was delighted to see digital TV sets tuned to MPTV-HD in many electronics stores in our area. The reason: MPTV-HD has an outstanding picture and sound and is the area's only 24-hour-a-day HD and widescreen broadcast channel. The stores selling digital TV sets want to show you the best eye-popping video, and MPTV-HD provides it!

MPTV is licensed to operate two digital TV stations, and we have committed one to HD service. But digital technology also enables a station to split up its signal into a number of multiple programming streams, or multicasts, and that's what we're doing with our other digital station.

In fact, Milwaukee Public Television has a family of digital multicast channels already on the air, and a brand new one, MPTV CREATE, signed on January 9.

MPTV CREATE is a dynamic 24-hour channel of popular lifestyle and how-to programming. It features some of public television's most popular series and best-known talent. It offers greater choice and convenience in watching some of your favorite series. On any given day, CREATE food fans will feast on JACQUES PEPIN: FAST FOOD MY WAY, LIDIA'S FAMILY TABLE, MARTIN YAN'S CHINATOWNS, and many others. Wandering souls will enjoy GLOBE TREKKER, TRAVELS IN EUROPE WITH RICK STEVES, and SMART TRAVELS EUROPE WITH RUDY MAXA. Budding artists can appreciate THE BEST OF SIMPLY PAINTING and ONE STROKE PAINTING WITH DONNA DEWBERRY. And to round things out, there's everything from THIS OLD HOUSE to QUILT CENTRAL to P. ALLEN SMITH'S GARDEN HOME to GLASS WITH VICKI PAYNE. MPTV CREATE is a showcase for public television's most popular lifestyle programs, in one convenient place, all day and all night! You can find it over-the-air on digital channel 10-3 (and channel 552 on Time Warner Cable).

MPTV currently offers four other multicast services. On digital channel 10-1 (channel 550 on Time Warner Cable) you'll find a three-hour delay of programs on MPTV-10, and on digital channel 10-2 (channel 551 on Time Warner Cable) a three-hour delay of programs on MPTV-36. These services are great if you've missed a wonderful program on channels 10 or 36 because you were out at an evening meeting; just watch it three hours later on digital channel 10-1 or 10-2.

MPTV KIDS, a 24-hour channel featuring the best in public television's children's programs, is broadcast on digital channel 10-4 (channel 553 on Time Warner Cable).

And MPTV EXTRA, on digital channel 10-5 (channel 554 on Time Warner Cable) provides the latest maps from the National Weather Service accompanied by an outstanding stream of non-commercial classical music.

Later in 2006, we expect to add two new multicast services, a public affairs channel and a Spanish-language channel. We'll tell you more about them, as plans progress.

With the launch of MPTV CREATE, we're kicking off the New Year with a bang! We are now offering more programming options for you, our viewers, than at any other time in our history. The transition to digital facilities and transmission at MPTV--and your new digital set or converter--make it all possible. Enjoy... and Happy New Year from all of us at MPTV!

Ellis Bromberg
MPTV General Manager