CNS photo | Paul Haring

Journalists visit the Vatican's new high-definition mobile television studio during a demonstration at the Vatican Nov. 16.

November 29, 2010

Thanks to a discount from Sony and a contribution from the Knights of Columbus, the Vatican television centre has a multimillion-dollar high-definition mobile television studio, which will be operational in time for the pope's Christmas midnight Mass.

The Vatican unveiled the mobile studio — a 11-metre-long, 18-wheel truck with 16 workstations — after a news conference Nov. 16.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican television centre and the Vatican press office, told reporters the mobile studio and its all-HD equipment were worth just more than $6 million.

Sony Italy gave the Vatican a discount of more than $1 million; the Knights of Columbus contributed more than $1 million; and the television centre, CTV, covered the rest.

Lombardi said he knows people may think the project was too extravagant or too expensive, but with television broadcasters around the world moving to high definition, "the image of the pope would gradually disappear from the world of television over the coming years."