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 is quickly becoming the standard, with about 70% of all TVs used being HD as of 2015.[1]

From proposals to introduction[edit]

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 CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina) 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 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 broadcast locally on Fort Worth, Texas NBC affiliate KXAS channel 5. This telecast was also the first commercial HD broadcast in the state of Texas.[4] The first major sporting event broadcast nation wide in HD was Super Bowl XXXIV on January 30, 2000.

Satellite and cable[edit]

Satellite television companies in the United States, such as Dish Network and DirecTV, started to carry HD programming in 2002. 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. More than 95% of cable networks offer an HD broadcast to cable and satellite companies.

List of current high-definition channels[edit]

Name HD Format Category Type HD Only
4SD 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
A&E 1080i Entertainment Cable No
ABC 720p Broadcast Broadcast No
ABC Family 720p Family & Kids Cable No
Al Jazeera America 720p News & Information Cable No
Altitude 1080i Sports Cable No
AMC 1080i Entertainment Cable No
American Heroes Channel 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
Animal Planet 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
Audience Network 720p Entertainment Satellite No
AWE 1080i Entertainment Cable No
AXS TV 1080i Entertainment Cable Yes
Azteca America 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast No
BabyFirstTV 720p Family & Kids Cable No
BabyTV 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
BBC America 1080i Entertainment Cable No
BBC World News 1080i News & Information Cable No
BeIN Sport 720p Sports Cable No
BeIN Sport en Español 720p Sports Cable No
BET 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Big Ten Network 720p Sports – College Cable No
Bloomberg TV 1080i Business Cable No
Bravo 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Bright House Sports Network 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
C-SPAN (C-SPAN2, C-SPAN3) 1080i News & Information Cable No
Cartoon Network/Adult Swim 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
CBeebies 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
CBS 1080i Broadcast Broadcast No
CBS Sports Network 1080i Sports Cable No
Cinemax (MoreMax, ActionMax, ThillerMax, 5starMax, MovieMax, OuterMax, MaxLatino) 1080i Movies and Entertainment Premium No
CMT 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable No
CNBC 1080i Business Cable No
CNN 1080i News & Information Cable No
CNN International 1080i News & Information Cable No
Comcast SportsNet (All Networks) 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
Comedy Central 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Cooking Channel 1080i Lifestyle & Home Cable No
Crime & Investigation Network 720p Documentary & Educational Cable No
The CW 1080i Broadcast Broadcast No
Destination America 1080i Lifestyle & Home Cable No
Discovery Channel 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
Discovery Family 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
Discovery Life 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Disney Channel 720p Family & Kids Cable No
Disney Junior 720p Family & Kids Cable No
Disney XD 720p Family & Kids Cable No
DIY 1080i Lifestyle & Home Cable No
E! 1080i Entertainment Cable No
El Rey 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Encore (Encore Action, Encore Black, Encore Classic, Encore Suspense) 1080i Movies and Entertainment Premium No
Epix (Epix 2, Epix 3) 1080i Movies Premium No
ESPN 720p Sports Cable No
ESPN2 720p Sports Cable No
ESPNews 720p Sports Cable No
ESPNU 720p Sports – College Cable No
ESPN Deportes 720p Sports – Spanish Cable No
Esquire Network 1080i Entertainment Cable No
EWTN 1080i Religious Cable No
Food Network 1080i Lifestyle & Home Cable No
Fox 720p Broadcast Broadcast No
Fox Business Network 720p Business Cable No
Fox College Sports 720p Sports – College Cable No
Fox Deportes 720p Sports – Spanish Cable No
Fox News Channel 720p News & Information Cable No
Fox Soccer Plus 720p Sports Cable No
Fox Sports 1 720p Sports Cable No
Fox Sports 2 720p Sports Cable No
Fox Sports Networks (All Networks) 720p Sports – Regional Cable No
fuse 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable No
Fusion 1080i News & Information Cable No
FX 720p Entertainment Cable No
FX Movie Channel 720p Movies Cable No
FXX 720p Entertainment Cable No
Fyi 720p Documentary & Educational Cable No
Gol TV 1080i Sports Cable No
Golf Channel 1080i Sports Cable No
Great American Country 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable No
GSN 1080i Entertainment Cable No
H2 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
Hallmark Channel 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Hallmark Movie Channel 1080i Movies Cable No
HBO (HBO2, HBO Comedy, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Signature, HBO Zone) 1080i Movies and Entertainment Premium No
HDNet Movies 1080i Movies Cable No
HGTV 1080i Lifestyle & Home Cable No
History 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
HLN 1080i News & Information Cable No
HSN 1080i Shopping Cable No
IFC 1080i Movies and Entertainment Cable No
INSP 1080i Religious Cable No
Investigation Discovery 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Ion 720p Broadcast Broadcast No
Jewelry Television 1080i Shopping Cable No
Lifetime 1080i Entertainment Cable No
LMN 1080i Movies Cable No
Logo 1080i Entertainment Cable No
MASN (MASN2) 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
MavTV 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Mega TV 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Cable No
MGM HD 1080i Movies Premium Yes
Midco SN 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
MLB Network 720p Sports Cable No
MLB StrikeZone 720p Sports Cable No
The Movie Channel (The Movie Channel Xtra) 1080i Movies and Entertainment Premium No
MoviePlex (IndiePlex, RetroPlex) 1080i Movies Premium No
MSG (MSG Plus) 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
MSNBC 1080i News & Information Cable No
MTV 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable No
MTV2 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable No
Music Choice  ??? Music & Entertainment Cable No
MyNetworkTV 720p Broadcast Broadcast No
Nat Geo 720p Documentary & Educational Cable No
Nat Geo Wild 720p Documentary & Educational Cable No
NBA TV 1080i Sports Cable No
NBC 1080i Broadcast Broadcast No
NBCSN 1080i Sports Cable No
NESN 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
NFL Network 1080i Sports Cable No
NFL RedZone 1080i Sports Cable No
NHL Network 1080i Sports Cable No
Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
Nicktoons 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
Nick Jr. 1080i Family & Kids Cable No
Outdoor Channel 1080i Sports Cable No
Ovation 1080i Entertainment Cable No
OWN 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Oxygen 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Pac-12 Network 1080i Sports – College Cable No
Palladia 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable Yes
PBS 1080i Broadcast Broadcast No
Pivot 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Playboy TV 1080i Adult Cable No
Pop 1080i Entertainment Cable No
QVC 1080i Shopping Cable No
Reelz 720p Entertainment Cable No
RFD-TV 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Root Sports 720p Sports – Regional Cable No
Science 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
SEC Network 720p Sports – College Cable No
ShopHQ 1080i Shopping Cable No
Shorts 1080i Movies Cable No
Showtime (Showtime 2, Showcase, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Next, Showtime Women) 1080i Movies and Entertainment Premium No
Smithsonian Channel 1080i Documentary & Educational Cable No
SNY 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No
Sony Movie Channel 1080i Movies Cable Yes
Spike 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Sportsman Channel 1080i Sports Cable No
Sprout 1080i Kids & Family Cable No
Starz (Starz Comedy, Starz Edge, Starz Kids and Family, Starz InBlack, Starz Cinema) 1080i Movies and Entertainment Premium No
SundanceTV 1080i Movies and Entertainment Cable No
Syfy 1080i Entertainment Cable No
TBN 1080i Religious Cable No
TBS 1080i Entertainment Cable No
TCM 1080i Movies Cable No
Telemundo 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast No
Tennis Channel 1080i Sports Cable No
Time Warner Cable Deportes 1080i Sports Cable No
Time Warner Cable SportsNet 1080i Sports Cable No
TLC 1080i Entertainment Cable No
TNT 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Travel Channel 1080i Lifestyle & Home Cable No
TruTV 1080i Entertainment Cable No
TV Land 1080i Entertainment Cable No
TV One 1080i Entertainment Cable No
UniMás 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast No
Universal HD 1080i Movies Cable Yes
Universal Sports 1080i Sports Cable No
Univision 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast No
UP 1080i Entertainment Cable No
USA Network 1080i Entertainment Cable No
Velocity 1080i Entertainment Cable Yes
VH1 1080i Music & Entertainment Cable No
We TV 1080i Entertainment Cable No
The Weather Channel 1080i News & Information Cable No
Weather Nation TV 1080i News & Information Cable No
WGN America 1080i Entertainment Cable No
World Fishing Network 1080i Sports Cable No
YES 1080i Sports – Regional Cable No

Scheduled HD channel launches[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]