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PBS Stations Launching HD Channel

PBS has set Monday, March 1, for the launch of its PBS HD Channel, a 24/7, all-HDTV, all-the-time offering.

The service says that at launch, at least 50 stations will offer the channel, with more on the way.

The channel joins PBS’ digital offerings PBS Kids Channel and cable VOD version, PBS Kids on demand, as well as distance learning service PBS YOU (Your Own University).

Among HD Channel’s initial offering will be workhorse HD showpiece, Chihuly Over Venice, a documentary on the artist, and a Nova program on tornado chasers, "Hunt for the Supertwister."

At launch, PBS anticipates at least 50 local stations will be offering the service at start-up.

HD Channel replaces PBS’ HD loop, which has essentially consisted of a test feed of repeats of a few HD programs.

The new channel is fully packaged, featuring a mix of new and library product. HD and widescreen versions of shows including Nature, Nova, Great Performances, Masterpiece Theatre and new drama American Family will simulcast with their analog versions on PBS, then repeat during the following week on HD Channel.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.