Olympic Channel (United States)(Redirected from Universal HD)
Olympic Channel (branded as Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA) is an American digital cable and satellite sports channel owned by the NBC Olympics division of NBC Sports and the United States Olympic Committee. It is dedicated to Olympic sports, and is a franchise of the IOC's Olympic Channel operation. It is exclusively broadcast in 1080i high definition; providers who intend to provide a standard definition simulcast of the network must downscale the HD feed at their headend level.
|Launched||July 31, 2003|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Slogan||Home of Team USA|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
NBC Sports Regional Networks
|Dish Network||148 (HD/SD)|
|Available on some cable systems||check local listings|
|Internet Protocol television|
The network was originally founded in 2003 as Bravo HD+, which aired programs from the fellow NBC Universal network Bravo that had been produced in high definition. In 2004, the network re-branded as Universal HD, serving as an outlet for HD broadcasts of programming from NBC Universal channels, and library films. Universal HD was shut down on July 14, in preparation for the launch of Olympic Channel the next day.
The channel originally launched on July 31, 2003 as Bravo HD+, serving as a high-definition companion service to Bravo. On December 1, 2004, the network rebranded as Universal HD, shifting its focus towards library content, particularly from Universal Pictures and other NBC Universal channels.
In June 2017, NBCUniversal announced that Universal HD would be shut down on July 14, 2017, and replaced by Olympic Channel (marketed as Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA). Universal HD was the third NBCU cable network to cease operations in 2017, after Cloo and Esquire Network. These discontinuations came in response to changing market conditions in the U.S. television industry, including the growth of "skinny" over-the-top linear television services delivered over the internet (such as DirecTV Now and Sling TV), and an overall decline in "niche" channels that originate little to no original programming.
The channel carries coverage of competitions in Olympic sports that take place outside of the Olympic Games (such as world championships), as well as other programming focusing on Olympic athletes. The network draws from programming commissioned for the international version of Olympic Channel, original programming produced by the USOC, and the archives of NBC. Events include the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, Fencing World Cup, FINA Diving World Cup, FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, UCI Road World Championships, Bobsleigh World Cup and Skeleton World Cup. The first major event to air on the channel will be the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Olympic Channel formally launched on the morning of July 15, 2017; its launch weekend programming included coverage of events in the 2017 World Aquatics Championships, the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships and the 2017 IAAF Diamond League. Besides Xfinity, providers who carried the channel at launch included AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Dish Network, Spectrum, Optimum, and Verizon Fios, along with Hulu's live TV service; NBC stated that it would be available in 35 million households at launch.
Most of the programs broadcast by Universal HD were originally aired by one of NBCUniversal's television networks, including NBC, Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Cloo, Chiller and Oxygen before their HD simulcast networks were launched. In its early years, it carried sports coverage from USA in the HD format, including its rights to The Masters, tennis's US Open, and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Early in the high-definition era it also acquired repeat rights of short-run early-to-mid 2000s network series such as CBS's Clubhouse and UPN's Sex, Love & Secrets (which it actually premiered episodes from due to an abrupt cancellation from UPN) to fill out its schedule before its library became sustainable to repeat series more often and high definition became all but expected from a network television series.
In July 2007, the network announced a partnership with Sundance Channel to carry a weekly block of content from the network from August 1 through December 26, 2007, which was sponsored by Microsoft. It also, as part of a consortium of other NBC Universal networks and Sundance Channel, broadcast the entirety of the 2007 Live Earth concerts in high definition.
In November 2015, Universal Sports, a sports channel owned by InterMedia Partners with a minority stake held by NBC, ceased operations. NBC Sports acquired the rights to the content that was previously held by the channel, which consisted primarily of competitions in Olympic sports, and dispersed across Universal HD, NBCSN, and NBC Sports Live Extra. It also carried tape-delayed repeats of WWE's weekly series, including Raw and SmackDown, which aired back-to-back on Saturday evenings.
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