Cover Story: Television of Tomorrow

By Jeff Atkinson - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As we celebrate WBTV's 60th Anniversary, our Cover Story looks at what the next 60 years of TV might look like.  PrimeTime's Jeff Atkinson reports.

Imagine being up in the nose bleed section of Bank of America Stadium and being able to see the quarterback's face up close!

Or riding home on the train and catching our 7 o'clock news live.

"Thanks for being here"

It's not a pipe dream says WBTV's Chief Engineer Mike Gurthie.. it's not that far off into the future.

He says, "We're actually in the research and development part of that in Charlotte. Hopefully we'll be launching that in Charlotte within the next year."

He's talking about mobile TV. Just like the transistor radio 40 years ago let us take radio on road.. soon you'll be able to watch cable TV on your wireless phone.

Taking WBTV with you to the Panthers.. to be able to see CBS Sports coverage of the football game while you're in the stands.

But that's only part of what's coming!

When we did the big switch last month from analog to digital broadcasting it opened up a world of opportunities for local TV.

"Now that we're in digital... TV is a data stream. And the things we can do to data is mind blowing," says Gurthie.

Think of digital broadcasting like a pipe.. what it really is is a bandwidth.

Not only can we send a high definition signal down that pipe.

We can send a second TV channel down it as well.

Allowing us to program on one channel one basketball game.. and on the second channel a different game.

Down the road we'll be able to send data on a TV channel as well.

Say you're watching a baseball game and want to know more stats about the batter.. the information would show up on your data channel.

Or you want to know more about your favorite advertiser.. more information would show up on the WBTV data channel.

We're already seeing the merging of TV and the internet. If you missed one of our newscasts.. our stories show up on our website.

And on sites like and  you can watch TV shows you missed and movies on line for free.

The internet allowing you to pick the shows you want to watch when you want to watch them.

It's a brave new world.

"This is much bigger than the time when we went from black and white to color. I would say times 100 maybe times a-thousand of what we can do," says Gurthie.

Truly amazing.. when you think about it.. TV is one thing that we all share.. that brings us all together..

99-percent of homes in America have at least one TV set..

Philo Farnsworth would be pretty impressed by the technology.  (He's the inventor of television.)