High-definition television (HDTV) in the United States was introduced in 1998 and has since become increasingly popular and dominant in the television market. Hundreds of HD channels are available in millions of homes and businesses both terrestrially and via subscription services such as satellite, cable and IPTV. HDTV has quickly become the standard, with about 85% of all TVs used being HD as of 2018. [ failed verification ] In the US, the 720p and 1080i formats are used for linear channels, while 1080p is available on a limited basis, mainly for pay-per-view and video on demand content. Some networks have also began transmitting content at 1080p via ATSC 3.0 multiplex channels, with CBS and NBC affiliates being the main stations that transmit at 1080p.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began soliciting proposals for a new television standard for the U.S. in the late 1980s and later decided to ask companies competing to create the standard to pool their resources and work together, forming what was known as the Grand Alliance in 1993.
On July 23, 1996, WRAL-TV (the then CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina; now affiliated with NBC) became the first television station in the United States to broadcast a digital television signal.
HDTV sets became available in the U.S. in 1998 and broadcasts began around November 1998. The first public HDTV broadcast was of the launch of the space shuttle Discovery and John Glenn's return to space; that broadcast was made possible in part by the Harris Corporation.The first commercial broadcast of a local sporting event in HD was during Major League Baseball's Opening Day on March 31, 1998, the Texas Rangers against the Chicago White Sox from The Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, TX. The telecast was produced by LIN Productions, and overseen by LIN Productions president and Texas Rangers television executive producer Lee Spieckerman. The game was also the inaugural telecast on the digital channel of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas NBC affiliate KXAS channel 5. The event was simultaneously shown via satellite at a reception attended by members of congress, the FCC and members of the industry in Washington, DC. This telecast was also the first commercial HD broadcast in the state of Texas. The first major sporting event broadcast nationwide in HD was Super Bowl XXXIV, broadcast by ABC on January 30, 2000. By the 2014–15 season every network show producing new episodes had transitioned to high definition.
Satellite television companies in the United States, such as Dish Network and DirecTV, started to carry HD programming in 2003. Satellite transmissions in the U.S. use various forms of PSK modulation. A separate tuner is required to receive HD satellite broadcasts.
Cable television companies in the U.S. generally prefer to use 256-QAM to transmit HDTV. Many of the newer HDTVs with integrated digital tuners include support for decoding 256-QAM in addition to 8VSB for OTA digital. Cable television companies started carrying HDTV in 2003.
Currently, HD programming is carried by all major television networks in nearly all DMAs, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, The CW, MyNetworkTV and Telemundo; and on many independent stations. All but a select few of cable networks offer an HD broadcast to cable and satellite companies.
|Name||First-launched HD service||HD Format||Letterbox/Pillarbox||Category||Type|
|A&E||September 4, 2006||1080i||N/A||Entertainment||Cable|
|ABC||September 16, 2001||720p||Pillarbox (2001–2016) |
|Adult Swim||October 15, 2007||Pillarbox (2007–2013) |
|Altitude||N/A||Sports - Regional|
|American Heroes Channel|
|AT&T SportsNet||April 1, 2011||720p||Sports – Regional|
|ASPiRE||June 27, 2012||1080i||Entertainment|
|AWE||June 1, 2004||1080i||Lifestyle|
|AXS TV||September 6, 2001||Entertainment|
|Azteca||July 16, 2012||Broadcast – Spanish||Broadcast|
|BBC America||March 29, 1998||Entertainment||Cable|
|BBC World News||August 5, 2013||News|
|beIN Sports||June 1, 2012||720p||Sports|
|beIN Sports en Español||Sports – Spanish|
|BET||March 23, 2011||1080i||Entertainment|
|Big Ten Network||2009||720p||Sports - College|
|Bloomberg TV||May 9, 2011||1080i||News|
|Cartoon Network||October 15, 2007||Pillarbox (2007–2013) |
|CBS||September 1998||Pillarbox (1998–2018) |
|CBS Sports Network||August 2008||Sports||Cable|
|Cinemax (MoreMax, ActionMax, ThrillerMax, 5starMax, MovieMax, OuterMax, MaxLatino)||N/A||Premium Movies||Premium|
|CNBC||October 10, 2007||News|
|CNN||September 6, 2007|
|Comedy Central||January 13, 2009||Entertainment|
|Cooking Channel||March 31, 2008||Lifestyle|
|Crime & Investigation Network||April 1, 2005||720p||Pillarbox||Entertainment|
|The CW||March 2012||1080i||Broadcast|
|Destination America||March 31, 2008||1080i||Lifestyle|
|Discovery Channel||June 2002||Entertainment|
|Discovery Family||October 10, 2010||Family|
|Discovery Life||February 1, 2011||Lifestyle|
|Disney Channel||March 19, 2008||720p||Pillarbox (2008–2017) |
|Disney Junior||March 23, 2012||Pillarbox (2012–2017) |
|Disney XD||February 13, 2009||Pillarbox (2009–2017) |
|DIY||May 1, 2010||1080i||Lifestyle|
|E!||December 8, 2008|
|Epix (Epix 2, Epix Hits)||October 30, 2009||Premium Movies||Premium|
|ESPN||March 30, 2003||720p||Sports|
|ESPNews||March 30, 2008|
|ESPNU||March 23, 2010|
|ESPN Deportes||January 7, 2004||Sports – Spanish|
|EVINE Live||February 13, 2015||1080i||Shopping|
|Flix||August 1, 1992||Premium Movies||Premium|
|FM||September 30, 2015||Music||Cable|
|Food Network||March 31, 2008||Lifestyle|
|Fox||September 12, 2004||720p||Pillarbox (2004–2007) |
|Fox Business Network||October 15, 2007||News||Cable|
|Fox Deportes||N/A||Sports – Spanish|
|Fox News Channel||April 29, 2008||News|
|Fox Soccer Plus||June 15, 2010|
|Fox Sports Networks (All Networks)||July 2010||Sports – Regional|
|Fusion||October 28, 2013||News|
|FXX||September 2, 2013||Entertainment|
|FYI||January 1, 1999||Lifestyle|
|Galavisión||June 1, 2010||1080i||Spanish|
|Gol TV||August 1, 2010||Sports – Spanish|
|Golf Channel||January 2007||Sports|
|Great American Country||October 1, 2013||Music|
|GSN||September 15, 2010||Entertainment|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries||January 20, 2004||Movies|
|HBO (HBO2, HBO Comedy, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Signature, HBO Zone)||March 6, 1999||Premium Movies||Premium|
|HDNet Movies||January 13, 2003||Movies||Cable|
|HGTV||March 31, 2008||Lifestyle|
|HLN||December 15, 2008||News|
|Ion||February 16, 2009||720p||Broadcast|
|Lifetime||April 16, 2008||Lifestyle|
|LMN||June 29, 1998|
|Logo TV||June 30, 2005|
|MASN (MASN2)||September 16, 2008||Sports – Regional|
|MAVTV||October 1, 2004||Sports|
|Mega TV||March 1, 2006||Broadcast – Spanish|
|MGM HD||October 10, 2007||Movies||Premium|
|Midco Sports Network||N/A||Sports – Regional||Cable|
|MLB Network||December 17, 2008||720p||Sports||Cable|
|Motor Trend||June 17, 2002||1080i|
|The Movie Channel (The Movie Channel Xtra)||December 1, 2003||Premium Movies||Premium|
|MoviePlex (IndiePlex, RetroPlex)||February 11, 2010|
|MSG (MSG Plus, MSG Western New York)||January 22, 2009||Sports – Regional||Cable|
|MSNBC||June 29, 2015||News|
|MTV Live||January 16, 2006||Music|
|MyNetworkTV||September 5, 2006||720p||Broadcast|
|Nat Geo Wild||March 29, 2010||Lifestyle||Cable|
|National Geographic||January 2006||Entertainment|
|NBA TV||October 30, 2007||1080i||Sports|
|NBC||April 26, 1999||Pillarbox (1999–2006) |
|NBC Sports Regional Networks||2010||Sports – Regional||Cable|
|NESN||April 2006||Sports – Regional|
|Newsmax TV||June 16, 2014||News|
|NFL Network||August 2004||Sports|
|NFL RedZone||September 13, 2009|
|NHL Network||October 1, 2007|
|Nick at Nite||2008||Family|
|Nicktoons||August 13, 2013||Pillarbox (2013–2014) Letterbox (2014–present)|
|Nick Jr.||August 1, 2013|
|One America News Network||July 4, 2013||News|
|OWN||January 1, 2011|
|Olympic Channel||July 31, 2003||Sports|
|Pac-12 Network||August 15, 2012||Sports – College|
|PBS||March 1, 2004||Both||Broadcast|
|Playboy TV||March 29, 2018||Adult|
|Reelz||August 1, 2010||720p||Entertainment|
|Revolt||October 21, 2013||1080i||Music|
|RFD-TV||July 26, 2007||Lifestyle|
|Science||September 1, 2009||Lifestyle|
|SEC Network||August 14, 2014||720p||Sports - College|
|ShortsTV||February 17, 2010||1080i||Movies|
|Showtime (Showtime 2, Showcase, Showtime Extreme, SHO×BET, Showtime Next, Showtime Women)||July 25, 2013||Premium Movies||Premium|
|Smithsonian Channel||September 26, 2007||Lifestyle||Cable|
|SNY||March 16, 2006||Sports – Regional|
|Sony Movie Channel||October 1, 2010||Movies|
|Spectrum SportsNet LA||February 25, 2014||Sports – Regional|
|Sportsman Channel||January 25, 2010||Sports|
|Starz (Starz Comedy, Starz Edge, Starz Kids and Family, Starz InBlack, Starz Cinema)||December 2003||Premium Movies||Premium|
|Starz Encore (Starz Encore, Starz Encore Action, Starz Encore Black, Starz Encore Classic, Starz Encore Suspense)||March 22, 2003|
|SundanceTV||July 1, 2011||Movies||Cable|
|Syfy||October 3, 2007||Entertainment|
|TBS||September 1, 2007||Pillarbox (2007–2010) |
|Telemundo||April 23, 2009||Broadcast – Spanish||Broadcast|
|Tennis Channel||December 31, 2007||Sports|
|TLC||September 1, 2007||Lifestyle|
|TNT||May 21, 2004||Entertainment|
|TUDN||April 7, 2012||Sports – Spanish|
|TV Land||November 2011||Family|
|TV One||January 19, 2004||Entertainment|
|UniMás||January 1, 2010||Broadcast – Spanish||Broadcast|
|Universal Kids||September 2010||Pillarbox (2010–2013) |
|Univision||January 1, 2010||Broadcast – Spanish||Broadcast|
|Viceland||February 29, 2016||Lifestyle|
|The Weather Channel||September 26, 2007||News|
|WeatherNation TV||October 27, 2011|
|World Fishing Network||November 2007||Sports|
|YES||July 2004||Sports – Regional|
Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted through coaxial cables, or in more recent systems, light pulses through fibre-optic cables. This contrasts with broadcast television, in which the television signal is transmitted over-the-air by radio waves and received by a television antenna attached to the television; or satellite television, in which the television signal is transmitted over-the-air by radio waves from a communications satellite orbiting the Earth, and received by a satellite dish antenna on the roof. FM radio programming, high-speed Internet, telephone services, and similar non-television services may also be provided through these cables. Analog television was standard in the 20th century, but since the 2000s, cable systems have been upgraded to digital cable operation.
8VSB is the modulation method used for broadcast in the ATSC digital television standard. ATSC and 8VSB modulation is used primarily in North America; in contrast, the DVB-T standard uses COFDM.
Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards are an American set of standards for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable and satellite networks. It is largely a replacement for the analog NTSC standard and, like that standard, is used mostly in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and South Korea. Several former NTSC users, in particular Japan, have not used ATSC during their digital television transition, because they adopted their own system called ISDB.
Digital cable is the distribution of cable television using digital video compression for distribution. The technology was developed by General Instrument, which was succeeded by Motorola and subsequently by ARRIS Group. Cable companies converted to digital cable during the 2000s, during the period that broadcast television converted to the digital HDTV standard, which was incompatible with existing analog cable systems. In addition to providing higher resolution HD video, digital cable systems provide more services such as pay-per-view programming, cable internet access and cable telephone services. Most digital cable signals are encrypted, which reduced the incidence of cable television piracy which occurred in analog systems.
WRAL-TV, virtual channel 5, is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Raleigh, North Carolina, United States and serving the Triangle region. It is the flagship station of the locally based Capitol Broadcasting Company, which has owned the station since its inception.
The All-Channel Receiver Act of 1962 (ACRA), commonly known as the All-Channels Act, was passed by the United States Congress in 1961, to allow the Federal Communications Commission to require that all television set manufacturers must include UHF tuners, so that new UHF-band TV stations could be received by the public. This was a problem at the time since most affiliated stations of the Big Three television networks were well-established on VHF, while many local-only stations on UHF were struggling for survival.
KXAS-TV, virtual channel 5, is an NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to Fort Worth, Texas, United States and serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. The station is owned by the NBC Owned Television Stations subsidiary of NBCUniversal, as part of a duopoly with Dallas-licensed Telemundo owned-and-operated station KXTX-TV. The two stations share studios at the CentrePort Business Park on Amon Carter Boulevard in eastern Fort Worth; KXAS-TV's transmitter is located south of Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.
KTVT, virtual channel 11, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station licensed to Fort Worth, Texas, United States and serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of ViacomCBS, as part of a duopoly with independent station KTXA, also licensed to Fort Worth.
KXTX-TV, virtual channel 39, is a Telemundo owned-and-operated television station licensed to Dallas, Texas, United States and serving the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. The station is owned by the Telemundo Station Group subsidiary of NBCUniversal, as part of a duopoly with Fort Worth-licensed NBC owned-and-operated station KXAS-TV. The two stations share studios at the CentrePort Business Park on Amon Carter Boulevard in Fort Worth; KXTX-TV's transmitter is located south of Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.
QAM is a digital television standard using quadrature amplitude modulation. It is the format by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers. QAM is used in a variety of communications systems such as Dial-up modems and WiFi. In cable systems, a QAM tuner is linked to the cable in a manner that is equivalent to an ATSC tuner which is required to receive over-the-air (OTA) digital channels broadcast by local television stations when attached to an antenna. Most new HDTV digital televisions support both of these standards. QAM uses the same 6 MHz bandwidth as ATSC, using a standard known as ITU-T Recommendation J.83 Annex B ("J.83b").
KVII-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 7, is a dual ABC/CW+-affiliated television station licensed to Amarillo, Texas, United States. The station is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. KVII-TV's studios are located at One Broadcast Center between South Pierce and South Buchanan streets in downtown Amarillo, and its transmitter is located west of US 87/287, in unincorporated Potter County. On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 8 in standard definition and digital channel 708 in high definition in Amarillo, and on channel 7 on other providers in outlying areas of the market.
KXII, virtual and VHF digital channel 12, is a dual CBS/Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Sherman, Texas, United States and serving the Sherman–Ada television market. The station—which maintains an additional subchannel-only affiliation with Ion Television—is owned by Gray Television, and is sister to low-power MyNetworkTV affiliate K31LQ-D, which is simulcast on KXII's second digital subchannel. The two stations share studios on Texoma Parkway in northeastern Sherman, with an additional studio on South Commerce Street and Elks Boulevard in southwestern Ardmore, Oklahoma. KXII's transmitter is located along Oklahoma State Highway 99 in rural northeastern Marshall County, Oklahoma. KXII's signal is relayed on low-power translator station KXIP-LD in Paris, Texas.
KFDA-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 10, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Amarillo, Texas, United States. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Borger-licensed Telemundo affiliate KEYU. The two stations share studios on Broadway Drive in northern Amarillo, where KFDA's transmitter is also located. On cable, the station is available on Suddenlink Communications channel 12 in Amarillo, and on channel 10 on other providers in outlying areas of the market.
In broadcasting, digital subchannels are a method of transmitting more than one independent program stream simultaneously from the same digital radio or television station on the same radio frequency channel. This is done by using data compression techniques to reduce the size of each individual program stream, and multiplexing to combine them into a single signal. The practice is sometimes called "multicasting".
A multiplex or mux is a grouping of program services as interleaved data packets for broadcast over a network or modulated multiplexed medium. The program services are split out at the receiving end.
A free-to-air or FTA Receiver is a satellite television receiver designed to receive unencrypted broadcasts. Modern decoders are typically compliant with the MPEG-2/DVB-S and more recently the MPEG-4/DVB-S2 standard for digital television, while older FTA receivers relied on analog satellite transmissions which have declined rapidly in recent years.
In the United States, digital television broadcasts, or DTV, can be received via cable, via internet, via satellite, or via digital terrestrial television — much like analog television broadcasts have been. Full-power analog television broadcasts, however, were required by U.S. federal law to cease by June 12, 2009. Low-power, Class A, and TV Translator stations are not currently required to cease analog broadcasts. Also by law, digital broadcasts — when transmitted as over-the-air signals — must conform to ATSC standards. it is unclear whether satellite operators are free to use their own proprietary standards; and many standards exist for Internet television.
High-definition television (HD) describes a television system providing an image resolution of substantially higher resolution than the previous generation of technologies. The term has been used since 1936, but in modern times refers to the generation following standard-definition television (SDTV), often abbreviated to HDTV or HD-TV. It is the current de facto standard video format used in most broadcasts: terrestrial broadcast television, cable television, satellite television and Blu-ray Discs.
ATSC 3.0, also known by the moniker NextGen TV, is a major version of the ATSC standards for television broadcasting created by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). ATSC 3.0 comprises around 20 standards covering different aspects of the system and in total will have over 1,000 pages of documentation.