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A television channel is a terrestrial frequency or virtual number over which a television station or television network is distributed. For example, in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, "channel 2" refers to the terrestrial or cable band of 54 to 60
MHz The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the derived unit of frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency, which emphasizes the contrast to spatial frequency and an ...
, with
carrier Carrier may refer to: Entertainment * Carrier (album), ''Carrier'' (album), a 2013 album by The Dodos * Carrier (game), ''Carrier'' (game), a South Pacific World War II board game * Carrier (TV series), ''Carrier'' (TV series), a ten-part document ...
frequencies Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time A unit of time is any particular time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparent ...

frequencies
of 55.25 MHz for
NTSC The National Television System Committee (NTSC)National Television System Committee (1951–1953), Report and Reports of Panel No. 11, 11-A, 12-19, with Some supplementary references cited in the Reports, and the Petition for adoption of transm ...
analog video ( VSB) and 59.75 MHz for analog audio (
FM
FM
), or 55.31 MHz for digital
ATSC Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards are an American set of standards for digital television Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of television audiovisual Audiovisual (AV) is electronic media possessing both a so ...

ATSC
(
8VSB 8VSB is the modulation In electronics and telecommunications, modulation is the process of varying one or more properties of a periodic waveform, called the ''carrier signal'', with a separate signal called the ''modulation signal'' that typi ...
). Channels may be shared by many different television stations or cable-distributed channels depending on the location and service provider Depending on the multinational
bandplan A frequency plan, bandplan, band plan or wavelength plan is a plan for using a particular Radio spectrum#Band, band of radio frequencies, that are a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Each frequency plan defines the frequency range to be incl ...
for a given regional n,
analog television Analog television is the original television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in color, and in two or three ...
channels are typically 6, 7, or 8 MHz in
bandwidth Bandwidth commonly refers to: * Bandwidth (signal processing) or ''analog bandwidth'', ''frequency bandwidth'', or ''radio bandwidth'', a measure of the width of a frequency range * Bandwidth (computing), the rate of data transfer, bit rate or thro ...
, and therefore
television channel frequenciesThe following tables show the frequencies assigned to broadcast television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in colo ...
vary as well. Channel
numberingThere are many different numbering schemes for assigning nominal numbers to entities. These generally require an agreed set of rules, or a central coordinator. The schemes can be considered to be examples of a primary key In the relational model of ...
is also different.
Digital terrestrial television Digital terrestrial television (DTTV or DTT, or DTTB with "broadcasting") is a technology for terrestrial television Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of sound, audio or video c ...
channels are the same as their analog predecessors for
legacy In law, a legacy is something held and transferred to someone as their inheritance Inheritance is the practice of passing on private property, Title (property), titles, debts, entitlements, Privilege (law), privileges, rights, and Law of obligat ...
reasons, however through
multiplexing In telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio, Optical system, optical, or other Electromagnetism, electromagnetic systems. It has its origin in the desire of ...
, each physical
radio frequency Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible p ...
(RF) channel can carry several
digital subchannel In broadcasting, digital subchannels are a method of transmitting more than one independent program stream simultaneously from the same digital radio or television station on the same radio frequency channel. This is done by using data compre ...
s. On
satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"title="Earth observation satellite ERS 2">Earth observation satellite ERS 2 In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been intentionally ...
s, each
transponder In telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or r ...

transponder
normally carries one channel, however multiple small, independent channels can be on one transponder, with some loss of
bandwidth Bandwidth commonly refers to: * Bandwidth (signal processing) or ''analog bandwidth'', ''frequency bandwidth'', or ''radio bandwidth'', a measure of the width of a frequency range * Bandwidth (computing), the rate of data transfer, bit rate or thro ...
due to the need for
guard band In radio, a guard band is an unused part of the radio spectrum The radio spectrum is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies (the spectrum A spectrum (plural ''spectra'' or ''spec ...
s between unrelated
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...
s.
ISDB Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB; Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white ...
, used in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
and
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, has a similar segmented mode. Preventing interference between terrestrial channels in the same area is accomplished by skipping at least one channel between two analog stations'
frequency allocation Frequency allocation (or spectrum allocation or spectrum management Spectrum management is the process of regulating the use of radio frequencies to promote efficient use and gain a net social benefit.Martin Cave, Chris Doyle, William Webb, '' ...
s. Where channel numbers are sequential, frequencies are not
contiguous Contiguity or contiguous may refer to: *Contiguous data storage, in computer science *Contiguity (probability theory) *Contiguity (psychology) *Contiguous distribution of species, in biogeography *Geographic contiguity of territorial land *Contiguo ...
, such as channel 6 to 7 skip from
VHF Very high frequency (VHF) is the designation for the range of s (s) from 30 to 300 (MHz), with corresponding wavelengths of ten meters to one meter. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted (HF), and the next higher frequencies are kn ...
low to high band, and channel 13 to 14 jump to
UHF Ultra high frequency (UHF) is the ITU 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies ...

UHF
. On cable TV, it is possible to use
adjacent channel In broadcast Broadcasting is the distribution (business), distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium (communication), mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spe ...
s only because they are all at the same power, something which could only be done terrestrially if the two stations were transmitted at the same
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
and
height 200px, A cuboid demonstrating the dimensions length, width">length.html" ;"title="cuboid demonstrating the dimensions length">cuboid demonstrating the dimensions length, width, and height. Height is measure of vertical distance, either vertical ...
from the same
location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wor ...
. For DTT,
selectivity Selectivity may refer to: Psychology and behaviour * Choice A choice is the range of different things from which you can choose. The arrival at a choice may incorporate Motivation, motivators and Choice modelling, models. For example, a trav ...
is inherently better, therefore channels adjacent (either to analog or digital stations) can be used even in the same
area Area is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value in ...
.


Other meanings

Commonly, the term "television channel" is used to mean a
television station A television station is a set of equipment managed by a business, organisation or other entity, such as an amateur television (ATV) operator, that transmits video content and audio content via radio waves directly from a transmitter on the eart ...
or its
pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a ...
counterpart (both outlined below). Sometimes, especially outside the U.S. and in the context of pay television, it is used instead of the term
television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provides programming to many television stations or multichannel video programming distributor, pay tel ...
, which otherwise (in its technical use above) describes a group of geographically-distributed television stations that share affiliation/
ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germ ...
and some or all of their programming with one another. This terminology may be muddled somewhat in other
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s, for instance
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
, where terrestrial channels are commonly mapped from physical channels to common numerical positions (i.e.
BBC One BBC One is a British free-to-air Free-to-air (FTA) services are television (TV) and radio services broadcast in clear (unencrypted) form, allowing any person with the FTA Receiver, appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view ...
does not broadcast on any particular "channel 1" but is nonetheless mapped to the "1" input on most British television sets). On digital platforms, such (location) channels are usually arbitrary and changeable, due to
virtual channel In most telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over , radio, , or other systems. It has its origin in the desire of humans for communication over a distance greater than tha ...
s.


Television station

A television station is a type of terrestrial station that
broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functi ...

broadcast
s both
audio Audio most commonly refers to sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion ( ...
''and''
video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active d ...

video
to
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...

television
receivers in a particular area. Traditionally, TV stations made their broadcasts by sending specially-encoded
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use ...

radio
signals over the air, called
terrestrial television Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized fun ...
. Individual television stations are usually granted
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...

license
s by a
government agency A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government The machinery of government (sometimes abbreviated as MoG) is the interconnected structures and proce ...
to use a particular section of the
radio spectrum The radio spectrum is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum with Frequency, frequencies from 3 hertz, Hz to 300 Hertz, GHz. Electromagnetic waves in this frequency range, called ''radio waves'', are widely used in modern technology, ...
(a
channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...
) through which they send their signals. Some stations use
LPTV Low-power broadcasting is broadcasting Broadcasting is the distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium (communication), mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic ...
broadcast translator A broadcast relay station, also known as a satellite station, relay transmitter, broadcast translator (U.S.), re-broadcaster (Canada), repeater (two-way radio) or complementary station (Mexico), is a broadcast transmitter which repeats (or transp ...
s to retransmit to further areas. Many television stations are now in the process of converting from analogue terrestrial (
NTSC The National Television System Committee (NTSC)National Television System Committee (1951–1953), Report and Reports of Panel No. 11, 11-A, 12-19, with Some supplementary references cited in the Reports, and the Petition for adoption of transm ...
,
PAL PAL 300px, upright=1.2, Analog television encoding systems by nation; SECAM.html"_;"title="NTSC_(green),_SECAM">NTSC_(green),_SECAM_(orange),_and_PAL_(blue). Phase_Alternating_Line_(PAL)_is_a_colour_encoding_system_for_Analog_television.html" ...
or
SECAM SECAM, also written SÉCAM (, ''séquentiel couleur à mémoire'', French for ''color sequential with memory''), is an analog color television system first used in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no ...

SECAM
) broadcast, to
digital terrestrial Digital terrestrial television (DTTV or DTT, or DTTB with "broadcasting") is a technology for terrestrial television Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting in which the television signal is transmitted by radio waves fro ...
( ATSC broadcast, DVB or
ISDB Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB; Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white ...
).


Non-terrestrial television channels

Because some regions have had difficulty picking up
terrestrial television Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized fun ...
signals (particularly in
mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...

mountain
ous areas), alternative means of distribution such as direct-to-home satellite and cable television have been introduced. Television channels specifically built to run on cable or satellite blur the line between TV station and TV network. That fact led some early cable channels to call themselves
superstation ''Superstation'' (alternatively rendered as "super station" or informally as "SuperStation") is a term in North American broadcasting that has several meanings. Commonly, a "superstation" is a form of distant signal, a broadcast television signa ...
s. Satellite and cable have created changes.
Local programming The terms local programme, local programming, local content or local television refers to a television program made by a television station or independent television producer for broadcast Broadcasting is the distribution (business), distrib ...
TV stations in an area can sign-up or even be required to be carried on cable, but content providers like
TLC TLC may refer to: Arts and entertainment Television * TLC (TV series), ''TLC'' (TV series), a 2002 British situational comedy television series that aired on BBC2 * TLC (TV network), formerly the Learning Channel, an American cable TV network ** TL ...
cannot. They are not licensed to run broadcast equipment like a station, and they do not regularly provide content to licensed broadcasters either. Furthermore, a distributor like
TNT Trinitrotoluene (; TNT), or more specifically 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more ...
may start producing its own programming, and shows presented exclusively on pay-TV by one distributor may be
syndicated Syndication may refer to: * Broadcast syndication, where individual stations buy programs outside the network system * Print syndication, where individual newspapers or magazines license news articles, columns, or comic strips * Web syndication, w ...
to terrestrial stations. The cost of creating a nationwide channel has been reduced and there has been a huge increase in the number of such channels, with most catering to a small group. See also: significantly viewed. From the definitions above, use of the terms "network" or "station" in reference to nationwide cable or satellite channels is technically inaccurate. However, this is an arbitrary, inconsequential distinction, and varies from company to company. Indeed, the term "
cable network Networking cables are networking hardware used to connect one network device to other network devices or to connect two or more computers to share printers, scanners etc. Different types of network cables, such as coaxial cable Coaxial cable, ...
" has entered into common usage in the United States in reference to such channels, even with the existence of
direct broadcast satellite Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite A communications satellite is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunication signals v ...
. There is even some geographical separation among "national" pay television channels in the U.S., be it programming (e.g., the
Bally Sports The Bally Sports Regional Networks are a group of regional sports network In the United States and Canada, a regional sports network (RSN) is a cable television channel (many of which are also distributed on direct broadcast satellite services) t ...
group of regional sports channels, which share several programs), or simply regionalized advertising inserted by the local cable company. Should a legal distinction be necessary between a (location) channel as defined above and a television channel in this sense, the terms "programming service" (e.g.) or "programming undertaking" (for instance,) may be used instead of the latter definition.


See also

*
Streaming television Streaming television is the digital distribution Digital distribution (also referred to as content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution (ESD), among others) is the delivery or distribution of digital media Dig ...
*
Free-to-air Free-to-air (FTA) services are television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Media (communication), medium used for transmitting moving images in grayscale, black-and-white or in color, and in two or 3 ...
*
Pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a ...
*
Barker channel A barker channel is a form of digital signage Digital signage is a sub-segment of electronic signage. Digital displays use technologies such as LCD, LED, projection and e-paper to display digital images, video, web pages, weather data, rest ...
*
Lists of television channels This article is a list containing lists of television channel A television channel is a terrestrial frequency or virtual number over which a television station or television network is distributed. For example, in North America N ...
*
Television channel frequenciesThe following tables show the frequencies assigned to broadcast television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in colo ...


References


External links

*
What ever happened to Channel 1?
{{Authority control
Television terminology {{CatAutoTOC Terminology Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use. This is also known as terminology science. Terms are words and ...
Broadcast engineering This Wikipedia:categories, category comprises articles pertaining to the radio frequency Broadcasting, broadcast transmission (telecom), transmission of Sound, audiovisual Wiktionary:signal, signals or data. For articles pertaining to the techno ...
Telecommunication theory *