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PBS to Launch 'PBS HD Channel' March 1, 2004 Featuring State-of-the-Art, Award-Winning Programming in High Definition & Widescreen

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Alexandria, VA, Feb. 25, 2004 - Continuing its decades-long leadership in television technology, PBS today announced the March 1, 2004 launch of the PBS HD Channel, making PBS the first broadcaster to provide a fully packaged 24/7 channel consisting entirely of High Definition and Widescreen content.

The PBS HD Channel will be available from local PBS stations that have transitioned to digital broadcasting, as well as through local digital cable systems that have agreed to retransmit the digital signal of their local public television station.

"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."

There are currently 236 local PBS stations on the air with digital signals, reaching more than 85 percent of U.S. TV households. The PBS HD Channel joins a suite of PBS digital services, including PBS KIDS® Channel and PBS YOU ("Your Own University") and the VOD cable package, "PBS KIDS on Demand."

The PBS HD Channel will feature a mix of new and library HD and Widescreen programs. New HD and Widescreen programs will simulcast with their analog national PBS premiere broadcast, and will repeat on the PBS HD Channel during the week following their premiere.

Programming highlights on the PBS HD CHANNEL in March 2004 include:


  • NOVA "Hunt for the Supertwister," in which viewers will take a thrilling ride with tornado hunters and investigate the ingenious new approaches that will one day help forecasters stay one step ahead of a devastating twister (HD);

  • GREAT PERFORMANCES "Concert for George"-- the historic Royal Albert Hall tribute to the late George Harrison, in its American television premiere (HD);

  • INNOVATION "Hi-Tech War," which follows soldiers who used the latest in battle technologies in Iraq, and the engineers back home who developed them (WS);

  • "CHIHULY OVER VENICE," a documentary on the work of glass artist Dale Chihuly (HD);

  • NOVA "Life and Death in the War Zone," covering the Iraq War's emergency medical response teams, chronicling doctors, nurses, and medics in a frontline Combat Support Hospital (WS) ; and

  • "JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS," a PBS KIDS show featuring the voice of Mel Brooks (HD).


  • In the coming months the PBS HD Channel will showcase some of PBS' most renowned signature series, including AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, NATURE, NOVA, and EXXONMOBIL MASTERPIECE THEATRE, as well as the new drama series AMERICAN FAMILY.

    PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 90 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.
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    Press Contact:
    Kevin Dando