The Dawn of HDTV
Its start was slow, but the results are spectacular.
The Dawn of HDTV
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November 02, 2007 by Rebecca Day

View Evolution of TVHDTV adopters in the late 1990s and early 2000s were pioneers in a new territory. Some had a direct line to local broadcasters who were seeking feedback from a sparsely populated HD frontier. Some were even on first-name bases with local programmers, calling in to discuss the night’s HD menu or report snafus. Videophiles who didn’t care a wit about sports would tune into Monday Night Football, just to see an HD picture. Viewers would stay up past their bedtimes to catch Jay Leno in high-resolution 1080i.

Just a decade later, you’d be hard-pressed to catch a prime-time network program that’s not in HD. You’ll also find a healthy sampling of high-res shows throughout the day.

Start off with the spectacular Sunrise Earth on Discovery HD Theater, and enjoy spectacular dawns from around the world. Jump to The Today Show or Good Morning America for the day’s news and entertainment and enjoy more HD programming throughout the day—a full palette of movies on the HD channels, talk shows including Ellen DeGeneres and The View, soaps such as Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives and General Hospital and educational and travel programming on PBS. More and more local and national news programs produce their studio programming in high-def, and even high-profile advertisers are joining the party with HD commercials.

Another possible source of guidance for teenagers is television, but television’s message has always been that the need for truth, wisdom and world peace pales by comparison with the need for a toothpaste that offers whiter teeth *and* fresher breath.
— Dave Barry

All of the major movie channels—HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, and Bravo—offer HD channels, and dedicated channels like Mojo, HDNet and HDNet Movies show a variety of programming 24/7. Sports fans are fed a healthy diet of high-res content, as events like the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Masters golf tournament went HD years ago. Now weekly network broadcasts of professional and high-visibility college sports are in HD—720p on ABC and Fox and 1080i on NBC and CBS. ESPN has devoted two channels to 720p HDTV. 

Gone are the days when HDTV owners had to settle for a few hours of HD a day—or even a week. Now there’s more high-res programming than you can handle. HD owners take note: Add TiVo or a Media Center PC to your HD plans for recording. With so much high-def programming available, you won’t want to miss a thing.

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TV Timeline: 1998-1999
The launch of the space shuttle Discovery airs as the first public HDTV broadcast in the United States. The first HDTV sets go on sale.
Original cable TV programming gains prominence as HBO’s The Sopranos debuts; its final episode’s climax in 2007 raises ire of many loyal viewers.

View more Evolution of TV

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