Discovery Communications to Launch HD Channel, VOD Services

Discovery Communications Inc. plans to launch a 24-hour HDTV network on June 17.

The new channel, Discovery HD Theater, will transmit HD content in Discovery's entertainment areas, including nature, history, world cultures, geographic exploration, science and others. At the moment, Discovery has more than 115 HD titles. New productions have been commissioned as well. The June 17 date marks Discovery's 17th anniversary, having first broadcast on June 17, 1985. The network will demonstrate Discovery HD Theater at the NCTA convention in New Orleans, May 5-8.

Discovery is also introducing a new subscription VOD service, Discovery on Demand, to support the rollout of file-served digital video. The service will offer up to 500 titles from Discovery's programming library. To increase the programming value for all file-served digital subscribers, Discovery has also created an entry-level, free VOD content service that will provide a menu of on-demand Discovery content organized in ten categories. The service, called Choice 10 Discovery, will offer 10-25 hours of popular Discovery shows with VCR functionality.