Sprout, the Comcast-backed pre-schoolers' channel, plans to launch a high-definition simulcast in September, channel president Sandy Wax said.
Wax said she could not say yet if the channel would have a carriage berth at launch but said "there's been a lot of demand at the system and field level for Sprout HD as a companion to the linear launch."
At its fifth anniversary, the 24-hour channel has about 43 million homes, per Nielsen figures, and is in 50 million altogether, including distributors carrying Sprout's on-demand programming only, Wax said.
Much of Sprout's broadcast day is filled with animated shows, and in general there hasn't been a huge impetus from 2- to 5-year olds and their caregivers to see Angelina Ballerina in HD. HD "neighborhoods" are growing on multichannel schedules," though, and "you have to be there," Wax said.
"It's a good, big step for us in our evolution as we grow," she said.
Newer Sprout shows, such as the new live-animated green-living series dirtgirlworld, are produced in high definition, as are Sprout graphics and Sprout's 6-9 a.m. show featuring The Wiggles (Sprout's Wiggly Waffle). The Good Night Show is shot in HD now and Sprout's 9 a.m.-noon live program The Sunny Side Up Show will be shot in HD at some point, she said. Sprout's other owners are HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop.
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