Universal HD

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Universal HD
Universal HD logo.png
Launched July 31, 2003; 13 years ago (2003-07-31)
Closed July 15, 2017; 17 days' time (2017-07-15)
Owned by
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters New York City, New York
Formerly called Bravo HD+ (2003–2004)
Replaced by Olympic Channel
Sister channel(s)
Website www.universalhd.com
DirecTV 569
Dish Network 247
Available on most U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider for channel availability
Verizon FiOS 567
AT&T U-verse 1105
Streaming media
PlayStation Vue Internet Protocol television

Universal HD is a soon-to-be-defunct American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by the Universal Television Networks unit of the NBCUniversal Television Group subsidiary of NBCUniversal. The network – which exclusively broadcasts in 1080i high definition – features a mix of films, drama series, sports, specials and performance arts programming from the NBCUniversal library, most of which are sourced from the company's cable networks. The network will cease operations on July 15, 2017 and will be replaced by the International Olympic Committee/United States Olympic Committee/Comcast joint venture network, the Olympic Channel.[1]


The channel originally launched on July 31, 2003 as Bravo HD+, serving as a high definition companion service to Bravo, although it did not operate as a simulcast of the network, only carrying programming produced in the format, such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. On December 1, 2004, the network rebranded as Universal HD, shifting its focus towards library content from all NBCUniversal television networks and live programming before those networks had their individual simulcast networks launched. In August 2007, the network began carrying a Wednesday night block of programs from the Sundance Channel; in addition, in 2007, Universal HD broadcast an HD telecast of the Sundance Channel's presentation of the Live Earth concert, which featured no commentary or hosts. In early 2008, Universal HD unveiled a new logo and a newly redesigned website.

In 2008, Universal HD expanded its series content and aired burn-off episode premieres of some canceled series originally broadcast by its sister networks. On February 9 and 10, 2008, the network broadcast a marathon of the entire first season of the CBS drama Jericho.[1][permanent dead link]

In early 2009, the network began airing same-week encores of the WWE wrestling programs WWE Raw (which airs on USA Network) and ECW (which aired on Syfy) on Saturday nights. ECW was replaced by NXT after the former was canceled in February 2010; NXT moved to WWE.com in October 2010 to accommodate the move of SmackDown (which is now also carried by Universal HD) to Syfy.

Comcast announced in its regular brief involving network contract renewals on its website that the network would end operations under its current form on July 15, 2017.[1] This would make it the third NBCU cable network to cease operations in 2017, after Cloo and Esquire Network; NBCU has pursued winding down marginal networks to appeal to 'skinny bundle' packages, along with the decline in networks which originate little to no original programming.[2][3] Comcast will replace it on the same channel space/satellite slot with a US version of the Olympic Channel, which will be available on all providers previously carrying Universal HD and bring it now under the direct control of the NBC Sports Group. In addition, the network will remain exclusively in high definition.[4][5]


Much of the programs broadcast by Universal HD were originally aired by one of NBCUniversal's television networks including NBC, Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Cloo, Chiller and Oxygen. The network regularly airs horror movies under the banner "Chiller on Universal HD", often featuring titles from its sister network Chiller.

Movies airing on the network are usually "television" cuts meant for basic cable, which feature content edits, dubbing of profanities and some time edits by removing superfluous plotting or toning down scenes with adult content inappropriate for basic cable broadcast to fit within a set timeslot with commercials added. Films are presented with commercial interruptions, and are broadcast in the 16:9 aspect ratio – theatrical releases originally filmed at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 are presented in a pan and scan format to fit high-definition television sets.

Sports programming[edit]

Prior to the launch of dedicated HD feeds for these channels, Universal HD served as the high-definition outlet for sports broadcasts carried by other NBC-owned networks, such as USA Network's coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, along with that network's coverage of the first and second rounds of The Masters and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2007. In addition to airing coverage simulcasts of those same games from USA, MSNBC and CNBC, the network was used to broadcast additional events from the Summer and Winter Olympic Games as part of the company's wide-ranging deal to carry the Olympics on its various cable channels – during the 2006 Winter Olympics, these broadcasts were mostly limited to men's and women's hockey qualifying rounds and semifinals; during the 2008 Summer Olympics, Universal HD ran simulcasts of MSNBC, CNBC and USA Network's event coverage.

In November 2007, Universal HD became the exclusive U.S. television broadcaster of the Men's and Women's Volleyball World Cup. In 2008, Universal HD aired U.S. Olympic Trial events during or soon after their original airing on MSNBC and USA Network.

In November 2015 Universal Sports Network ceased operations. NBC Sports acquired the rights to the content that was previously held by Universal Sports Network. Much of the programming moved to Universal HD, with the rest of the programming moving to NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.[6] Events include the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Fencing World Cup, FINA Diving World Cup, FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Bobsleigh World Cup and Skeleton World Cup.[7]

List of programs broadcast by Universal HD[edit]

Current programming[edit]

Current syndicated programming[edit]
Reruns of USA Network series[edit]

Former programming[edit]

Drama series[edit]
Reruns of Syfy series[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Cloo, a defunct sister network which aired much of the same content seen on Universal HD
  • Cozi TV, a sister network carrying most of the same content seen on Universal HD as a free-to-air digital subchannel
  • 13th Street, an international sister network


  1. ^ a b "XFINITY TV and Business TV Upcoming Programming Contract Renewals". Xfinity.com. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ Holloway, Daniel (January 25, 2017). "Could End of NBCU's Esquire Network Foretell More Cable Culling?". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (August 18, 2016). "Participant’s Pivot: Demise Reflects Niche Cable's Diminished Fortunes". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Olympic Channel TV network set to launch". Retrieved May 11, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Universal HD and Olympics Channel HD 7/15/17". Xfinity Help and Support Forums. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Olympic sports schedule - NBC Sports

External links[edit]