High-definition television in the United States

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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. [1] [ 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.

Contents

Proposals and introduction

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. [2]

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. [3] 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. [4] 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. [5]

Satellite and cable

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.

List of current American high-definition channels

NameFirst-launched HD serviceHD FormatLetterbox/PillarboxCategoryType
A&E September 4, 20061080iN/AEntertainmentCable
ABC September 16, 2001720pPillarbox (2001–2016)

Letterbox (2016–present)

Broadcast
AccuWeather Network N/A1080iN/ANewsCable
Adult Swim October 15, 2007Pillarbox (2007–2013)

Letterbox (2013–present)

Entertainment
Altitude N/ASports - Regional
AMC Entertainment
American Heroes Channel
Animal Planet Lifestyle
AT&T SportsNet April 1, 2011720pSports – Regional
ASPiRE June 27, 20121080iEntertainment
AWE June 1, 20041080iLifestyle
AXS TV September 6, 2001Entertainment
Azteca July 16, 2012Broadcast – SpanishBroadcast
BBC America March 29, 1998EntertainmentCable
BBC World News August 5, 2013News
beIN Sports June 1, 2012720pSports
beIN Sports en Español Sports – Spanish
BET March 23, 20111080iEntertainment
BET Her
Big Ten Network 2009720pSports - College
Bloomberg TV May 9, 20111080iNews
Bravo 2007Lifestyle
Cars.TV May 2009Sports
Cartoon Network October 15, 2007Pillarbox (2007–2013)

Letterbox (2013–present)

Family
CBS September 1998Pillarbox (1998–2018)

Letterbox (2018–present)

Broadcast
CBS Sports Network August 2008SportsCable
Cinemax (MoreMax, ActionMax, ThrillerMax, 5starMax, MovieMax, OuterMax, MaxLatino)N/APremium MoviesPremium
CMT EntertainmentCable
CNBC October 10, 2007News
CNN September 6, 2007
Comedy Central January 13, 2009Entertainment
Comedy.TV May 2009
Cooking Channel March 31, 2008Lifestyle
Crime & Investigation Network April 1, 2005720pPillarboxEntertainment
The CW March 20121080iBroadcast
Daystar N/A720pReligionCable
Destination America March 31, 20081080iLifestyle
Discovery Channel June 2002Entertainment
Discovery Family October 10, 2010Family
Discovery Life February 1, 2011Lifestyle
Disney Channel March 19, 2008720pPillarbox (2008–2017)

Letterbox (2017–present)

Family
Disney Junior March 23, 2012Pillarbox (2012–2017)

Letterbox (2017–present)

Disney XD February 13, 2009Pillarbox (2009–2017)

Letterbox (2017–present)

DIY May 1, 20101080iLifestyle
E! December 8, 2008
Epix (Epix 2, Epix Hits)October 30, 2009Premium MoviesPremium
ES.TV May 2009EntertainmentCable
ESPN March 30, 2003720pSports
ESPN2 January 2005
ESPNews March 30, 2008
ESPNU March 23, 2010
ESPN Deportes January 7, 2004Sports – Spanish
EVINE Live February 13, 20151080iShopping
Flix August 1, 1992Premium MoviesPremium
FM September 30, 2015MusicCable
Food Network March 31, 2008Lifestyle
Fox September 12, 2004720pPillarbox (2004–2007)

Letterbox (2007–present)

Broadcast
Fox Business Network October 15, 2007NewsCable
Fox Deportes N/ASports – Spanish
Fox News Channel April 29, 2008News
FS1 N/ASports
FS2
Fox Soccer Plus June 15, 2010
Fox Sports Networks (All Networks)July 2010Sports – Regional
Freeform 2008Family
Fuse N/A1080iMusic
Fusion October 28, 2013News
FX 2007720pEntertainment
FXM 2007Movies
FXX September 2, 2013Entertainment
FYI January 1, 1999Lifestyle
Galavisión June 1, 20101080iSpanish
Gol TV August 1, 2010Sports – Spanish
Golf Channel January 2007Sports
Great American Country October 1, 2013Music
GSN September 15, 2010Entertainment
Hallmark Channel N/AFamily
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries January 20, 2004Movies
HBO (HBO2, HBO Comedy, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Signature, HBO Zone)March 6, 1999Premium MoviesPremium
HDNet Movies January 13, 2003MoviesCable
HGTV March 31, 2008Lifestyle
History January 2008Entertainment
HLN December 15, 2008News
HSN August 2009Shopping
HSN 2
IFC 2007Movies
Investigation Discovery N/AEntertainment
Ion February 16, 2009720pBroadcast
Justice Central N/A1080iNewsCable
Lifetime April 16, 2008Lifestyle
LMN June 29, 1998
Logo TV June 30, 2005
MASN (MASN2) September 16, 2008Sports – Regional
MAVTV October 1, 2004Sports
Mega TV March 1, 2006Broadcast – Spanish
MGM HD October 10, 2007MoviesPremium
Midco Sports Network N/ASports – RegionalCable
Minnesota Channel 2007EntertainmentBroadcast
MLB Network December 17, 2008720pSportsCable
MLB StrikeZone
Motor Trend June 17, 20021080i
The Movie Channel (The Movie Channel Xtra)December 1, 2003Premium MoviesPremium
MoviePlex (IndiePlex, RetroPlex)February 11, 2010
MSG (MSG Plus, MSG Western New York)January 22, 2009Sports – RegionalCable
MSNBC June 29, 2015News
MTV January 2006Entertainment
MTV2 2012
MTV Live January 16, 2006Music
MyDestination.TV N/ALifestyle
MyNetworkTV September 5, 2006720pBroadcast
Nat Geo Wild March 29, 2010LifestyleCable
National Geographic January 2006Entertainment
NBA TV October 30, 20071080iSports
NBC April 26, 1999Pillarbox (1999–2006)

Letterbox (2006–present)

Broadcast
NBC Sports Regional Networks 2010Sports – RegionalCable
NBC Universo N/ASpanish
NBCSN January 2007Sports
NESN April 2006Sports – Regional
Newsmax TV June 16, 2014News
NewsNation N/A
NFL Network August 2004Sports
NFL RedZone September 13, 2009
NHL Network October 1, 2007
Nick at Nite 2008Family
Nickelodeon
Nicktoons August 13, 2013Pillarbox (2013–2014) Letterbox (2014–present)
Nick Jr. August 1, 2013
One America News Network July 4, 2013News
Outdoor Channel 2004Sports
Ovation July 2010Lifestyle
OWN January 1, 2011
Olympic Channel July 31, 2003Sports
Oxygen March 2011Lifestyle
Pac-12 Network August 15, 2012Sports – College
Paramount Network N/AEntertainment
PBS March 1, 2004BothBroadcast
Pets.TV N/ALifestyleCable
Playboy TV March 29, 2018Adult
Pop N/ALifestyle
QVC May 2009Shopping
Recipe.TV N/ALifestyle
Reelz August 1, 2010720pEntertainment
Revolt October 21, 20131080iMusic
RFD-TV July 26, 2007Lifestyle
Science September 1, 2009Lifestyle
SEC Network August 14, 2014720pSports - College
ShortsTV February 17, 20101080iMovies
Showtime (Showtime 2, Showcase, Showtime Extreme, SHO×BET, Showtime Next, Showtime Women)July 25, 2013Premium MoviesPremium
Smithsonian Channel September 26, 2007LifestyleCable
SNY March 16, 2006Sports – Regional
Sony Movie Channel October 1, 2010Movies
Spectrum SportsNet LA February 25, 2014Sports – Regional
Spectrum SportsNet N/A
Sportsman Channel January 25, 2010Sports
Starz (Starz Comedy, Starz Edge, Starz Kids and Family, Starz InBlack, Starz Cinema)December 2003Premium MoviesPremium
Starz Encore (Starz Encore, Starz Encore Action, Starz Encore Black, Starz Encore Classic, Starz Encore Suspense)March 22, 2003
SundanceTV July 1, 2011MoviesCable
Syfy October 3, 2007Entertainment
TBS September 1, 2007Pillarbox (2007–2010)

Letterbox (2010–present)

TCM June 2009Movies
Telemundo April 23, 2009Broadcast – SpanishBroadcast
TeenNick July 2011FamilyCable
Tennis Channel December 31, 2007Sports
TLC September 1, 2007Lifestyle
TNT May 21, 2004Entertainment
Travel Channel N/ALifestyle
truTV March 2011Entertainment
TUDN April 7, 2012Sports – Spanish
TV Land November 2011Family
TV One January 19, 2004Entertainment
UniMás January 1, 2010Broadcast – SpanishBroadcast
Universal Kids September 2010Pillarbox (2010–2013)

Letterbox (2013–present)

FamilyCable
Univision January 1, 2010Broadcast – SpanishBroadcast
Up N/AFamilyCable
USA Network Entertainment
Viceland February 29, 2016Lifestyle
VH1 2005Entertainment
WE tv N/ALifestyle
The Weather Channel September 26, 2007News
WeatherNation TV October 27, 2011
World Fishing Network November 2007Sports
YES July 2004Sports – Regional

See also

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References

  1. HDTV SETS NOW IN OVER 80% OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS Leichtman Research Group March 16, 2015
  2. History of WRAL Digital
  3. "HDTV: Launched and Counting". Broadcasting and Cable. BNET. 1998-11-02. Archived from the original on 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  4. KXAS Texas Rangers vs Chicago White Sox introduction – March 31, 1998
  5. End of an era: the last US broadcast network TV shows finally switch from SD to HD. Diverse Tech Geek. 11 June 2014.