High-definition television in the United States

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High-definition television (HDTV) in the United States was introduced in 1998 and has since become increasingly popular and dominant in the television market. Hundreds of HD channels are available in millions of homes and businesses both terrestrially and via subscription services such as satellite, cable and IPTV. HDTV has quickly become the standard, with about 70% of all TVs used being HD as of 2015.[1] In the US, the 720p and 1080i formats are used for linear channels, while 1080p is available on a limited basis, mainly for pay-per-view and Video on Demand content.

From proposals to introduction

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began soliciting proposals for a new television standard for the U.S. in the late 1980s and later decided to ask companies competing to create the standard to pool their resources and work together, forming what was known as the Grand Alliance in 1993.

On July 23, 1996, WRAL-TV (the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina) became the first television station in the United States to broadcast a digital television signal.[2]

HDTV sets became available in the U.S. in 1998 and broadcasts began around November 1998. The first public HDTV broadcast was of the launch of the space shuttle Discovery and John Glenn's return to space; that broadcast was made possible in part by Harris Corporation.[3] The first commercial broadcast of a local sporting event in HD was during Major League Baseball's Opening Day on March 31, 1998, the Texas Rangers against the Chicago White Sox from The Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, TX. The telecast was produced by LIN productions and broadcast locally on Fort Worth, Texas NBC affiliate KXAS channel 5. This telecast was also the first commercial HD broadcast in the state of Texas.[4] The first major sporting event broadcast nationwide in HD was Super Bowl XXXIV on January 30, 2000.

Satellite and cable

Satellite television companies in the United States, such as Dish Network and DirecTV, started to carry HD programming in 2002. Satellite transmissions in the U.S. use various forms of PSK modulation. A separate tuner is required to receive HD satellite broadcasts.

Cable television companies in the U.S. generally prefer to use 256-QAM to transmit HDTV. Many of the newer HDTVs with integrated digital tuners include support for decoding 256-QAM in addition to 8VSB for OTA digital. Cable television companies started carrying HDTV in 2003.

Currently, HD programming is carried by all major television networks in nearly all DMAs, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, The CW, MyNetworkTV and Telemundo; and on many independent stations. All but a select few of cable networks offer an HD broadcast to cable and satellite companies.

List of current American high-definition channels

Name HD Format Category Type
A&E 1080i Pop Culture Cable
ABC 720p Broadcast Broadcast
AccuWeather Network 1080i News Cable
Adult Swim 1080i Family Cable
Al Jazeera America 1080i News Cable
Altitude 1080i Sports Cable
AMC 1080i Entertainment Cable
American Heroes Channel 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Animal Planet 1080i Info & Education Cable
Aspire 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Audience Network 720p Entertainment Cable
AWE 1080i Lifestyle Cable
AXS TV 1080i Entertainment Cable
Azteca 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast
BBC America 1080i Entertainment Cable
BBC World News 1080i News Cable
beIN Sports 720p Sports Cable
beIN Sports en Español 720p Sports Cable
BET 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Big Ten Network 720p Sports Cable
Bloomberg TV 1080i News Cable
Bravo 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Bright House Sports Network 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
Cars.TV 1080i Sports Cable
Cartoon Network 1080i Family Cable
CBS 1080i Broadcast Broadcast
CBS Sports Network 1080i Sports Cable
Cinemax(MoreMax, ActionMax, ThillerMax, 5starMax, MovieMax, OuterMax, MaxLatino) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
CMT 1080i Pop Culture Cable
CNBC 1080i News Cable
CNN 1080i News Cable
Comcast SportsNet (All Networks) 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
Comedy Central 1080i Entertainment Cable
Comedy.TV 1080i Entertainment Cable
Cooking Channel 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Crime & Investigation Network 720p Pop Culture Cable
Daystar 720p Religion Cable
Destination America 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Discovery Channel 1080i Info & Education Cable
Discovery Family 1080i Family Cable
Disney Channel 1080i Family Cable
Disney Junior 720p Family Cable
Disney XD 720p Family Cable
DIY 1080i Lifestyle Cable
E! 1080i Pop Culture Cable
El Rey Network 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Encore (Encore Action, Encore Black, Encore Classic, Encore Suspense) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
Epix (Epix 2, Epix Hits) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
ES.TV 1080i Entertainment Cable
ESPN 720p Sports Cable
ESPN2 720p Sports Cable
ESPNews 720p Sports Cable
ESPNU 720p Sports Cable
ESPN Deportes 720p Sports – Spanish Cable
Esquire Network 1080i Lifestyle Cable
EVINE Live 1080i Shopping Cable
FM 1080i Music Cable
Food Network 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Fox 720p Broadcast Broadcast
Fox Business Network 720p News Cable
Fox Deportes 720p Sports – Spanish Cable
Fox News Channel 720p News Cable
Fox Sports 1 720p Sports Cable
Fox Sports 2 720p Sports Cable
Fox Soccer Plus 720p Sports Cable
Fox Sports Networks (All Networks) 720p Sports – Regional Cable
Freeform 720p Family Cable
Fuse 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Fusion 1080i News Cable
FX 720p Entertainment Cable
FXM 720p Movies Cable
FXX 720p Entertainment Cable
FYI 720p Lifestyle Cable
GAC 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Gol TV 1080i Sports – Spanish Cable
Golf Channel 1080i Sports Cable
GSN 1080i Pop Culture Cable
H2 1080i Info & Education Cable
Hallmark Channel 1080i Family Cable
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 1080i Movies Cable
HBO (HBO2, HBO Comedy, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Signature, HBO Zone) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
HDNet Movies 1080i Movies Cable
HGTV 1080i Lifestyle Cable
History 1080i Info & Education Cable
HLN 1080i News Cable
HSN 1080i Shopping Cable
IFC 1080i Movies Cable
Investigation Discovery 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Ion 720p Entertainment Broadcast
Lifetime 1080i Lifestyle Cable
LMN 1080i Lifestyle Cable
MASN (MASN2) 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
MAVTV 1080i Sports Cable
Mega TV 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Cable
MGM HD 1080i Movies Premium
Midco SN 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
MLB Network 720p Sports Cable
MLB StrikeZone 720p Sports Cable
The Movie Channel (The Movie Channel Xtra) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
MoviePlex (IndiePlex, RetroPlex) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
MSG (MSG Plus) 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
MSNBC 1080i News Cable
MTV 1080i Pop Culture Cable
MTV2 1080i Pop Culture Cable
MyDestination.TV 1080i Lifestyle Cable
MyNetworkTV 720p Broadcast Broadcast
Nat Geo Wild 720p Info & Education Cable
National Geographic Channel 720p Info & Education Cable
NBA TV 1080i Sports Cable
NBC 1080i Broadcast Broadcast
NBCSN 1080i Sports Cable
NESN 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
NFL Network 1080i Sports Cable
NFL RedZone 1080i Sports Cable
NHL Network 1080i Sports Cable
Nick at Nite 1080i Family Cable
Nickelodeon 1080i Family Cable
Nicktoons 1080i Family Cable
Nick Jr. 1080i Family Cable
Outdoor Channel 1080i Sports Cable
Ovation 1080i Lifestyle Cable
OWN 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Oxygen 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Pac-12 Network 1080i Sports – College Cable
Palladia 1080i Music Cable
PBS 1080i Broadcast Broadcast
Pets.TV 1080i Info & Education Cable
Pivot 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Playboy TV 1080i Adult Cable
Pop 1080i Pop Culture Cable
QVC 1080i Shopping Cable
Recipe.TV 1080i Lifestyle Cable
Reelz 720p Entertainment Cable
Revolt 1080i Pop Culture Cable
Root Sports Pittsburgh 720p Sports – Regional Cable
Science 1080i Info & Education Cable
SEC Network 720p Sports Cable
ShortsTV 1080i Movies Cable
Showtime (Showtime 2, Showcase, Showtime Extreme, Showtime Beyond, Showtime Next, Showtime Women) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
Smithsonian Channel 1080i Info & Education Cable
SNY 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
Sony Movie Channel 1080i Movies Cable
Spike 1080i Entertainment Cable
Sportsman Channel 1080i Sports Cable
Sprout 1080i Family Cable
Starz (Starz Comedy, Starz Edge, Starz Kids and Family, Starz InBlack, Starz Cinema) 1080i Premium Movies Premium
SundanceTV 1080i Movies Cable
Syfy 1080i Entertainment Cable
TBS 1080i Entertainment Cable
TCM 1080i Movies Cable
Telemundo 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast
Tennis Channel 1080i Sports Cable
TWC Deportes 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
TWC SportsNet 1080i Sports – Regional Cable
TLC 1080i Lifestyle Cable
TNT 1080i Entertainment Cable
Travel Channel 1080i Lifestyle Cable
truTV 1080i Entertainment Cable
TV Land 1080i Family Cable
TV One 1080i Pop Culture Cable
UniMás 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast
Universal HD 1080i Entertainment Cable
Univision 1080i Broadcast – Spanish Broadcast
Univision Deportes 1080i Sports – Spanish Cable
USA Network 1080i Entertainment Cable
Velocity 1080i Pop Culture Cable
VH1 1080i Pop Culture Cable
We TV 1080i Lifestyle Cable
The Weather Channel 1080i News Cable
WeatherNation TV 1080i News Cable
WGN America 1080i Entertainment Cable
World Fishing Network 1080i Sports Cable
YES 1080i Sports – Regional Cable

See also


  1. HDTV SETS NOW IN OVER 80% OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS Leichtman Research Group March 16, 2015
  2. History of WRAL Digital
  3. "HDTV: Launched and Counting". Broadcasting and Cable. BNET. 1998-11-02. Retrieved 2008-10-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  4. KXAS Texas Rangers vs Chicago White Sox introduction – March 31, 1998