Ion Goes HD

(From HD Notebook)

Ion Media Networks will make its family of programming packages—Ion Television, qubo and Ion Life—available in HD (720p) in 2009.

The announcement comes as Ion continues its image overhaul with high-quality reruns and original fare. It's calling Ion Television the "Positively Entertaining" network.

"We've made significant investments in infrastructure and content to bring excellent picture quality to consumers in time for the digital transition," said Brandon Burgess, Ion chairman and CEO. "Our viewers in the 94 million homes we serve will enjoy the full benefits of DTV technology."

Ion Television, slated for HD launch in the first quarter of 2009, will include network hits such as "NCIS," "Boston Legal" and "ER," with movies ahead including "Batman Returns" and "GoodFellas."

qubo, a multilingual kids network that champions literacy and positive values, and Ion Life, a digital network dedicated to active lifestyles and personal growth, will also be upgraded to high definition later in 2009.

Ion Television in HD will be launched from its newly designed, state-of-the-art transmission platform via expanded satellite transponder capacity, the company said, and will include upconverted HD programming, and will be carried on all 60 of Ion Media Network's television stations around the country.

Ion said all of its local stations expect to be carrying HD by the end of 2009.