ION Moves Delays HD Launch

(Feb. 16, 2009) WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.: ION Television is delaying the launch of its hi-def service to avoid confusion with the DTV transition. The network moved its HD debut date from today to March 16.

The network previously said it would launch HD service in 20 markets on Feb. 16, one day before the nationwide analog TV shutdown. Now that the end date has been extended to a four-month window from Feb. 17 to June 12, ION decided to hold back on its launch. The network will now go HD in the same 20 markets in mid-March, and launch HD on its other 40 stations in 25 markets later in the year.

The first phase of the roll-out covers stations in New York, Cicago, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles, reaching 46 million households. ION has an eponymous main channel and two multicast diginets--ION Life, with a lifestyle and personal growth format, and Qubo, a children’s channel. Both will be rolled out in HD later this year as well.