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03.02.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
PBS launches first 24/7 packaged HD, wide-screen channel


Stations such as WLEF-TV Park Falls in Wisconsin will be able to provide viewers with PBS' new 24/7 HD Channel. This tower-top photo was taken at the 1499 foot level of the WLEF-TV Park Falls tower during DTV-related tower strengthening. </</font>

PBS yesterday made a bit of television history when it launched the PBS HD Channel, which made PBS the first broadcaster to offer a fully packaged channel with HD and wide-screen content 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

The PBS HD Channel is being offered to the public by PBS stations that have made the conversion to digital television and through various local digital cable providers that re-transmit the signal of their local public broadcasters.

As of its launch, 64 local PBS stations had elected to broadcast the PBS HD Channel, according to PBS director of education and online communications Kevin Dando. “This is definitely the most successful launch we’ve had,” he said comparing the PBS HD Channel launch with that of the PBS Kids and PBS YOU channels. “More stations are signing up for the PBS HD Channel more quickly,” he added.

"The launch of the PBS HD Channel is a significant milestone in PBS' commitment to the digital transition," said Pat Mitchell, PBS president and CEO. "Local PBS digital stations already offer a range of digital services, including unique, groundbreaking multicasting content. The PBS HD Channel will be a key component of PBS' growing digital portfolio."

The PBS HD Channel features a mix of new and library HD and wide-screen programs. The channel’s programming will simulcast with the analog national PBS premiere broadcast, and will be repeated on the PBS HD Channel during the week following its premiere.

Currently, 236 local PBS stations are on the air with digital signals, reaching more than 85 percent of U.S. TV households. PBS will transmit the PBS HD Channel via satellite to local PBS stations as a 1080i HD signal.

For more information, please visit: www.pbs.org/aboutpbs/news/20040225_hdchannel_launch.html.

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