Sportsman Channel will fire its first shot in the high-definition arena next week.
The hunting, shooting and fishing network will begin simulcasting the programming delivered in standard-definition in the HD format on Jan. 25, at which time it will be available to all distributors. Officials said the network expects to announce its first group of affiliates later in the first quarter.
At the outset, one-third of Sportsman's primetime fare will air in HD, with the majority expected to be shown in the enhanced format by the third quarter.
Sportsman HD will be co-located on the same satellite as the standard definition service and will be broadcast using the MPEG-4 format.
A number of Sportsman series already captured in HD: Back Country Quest, Family Traditions with Haley Heath, Guns & Ammo, Heartland Bowhunter, In-Fisherman TV, North American Whitetail, Predator Nation and Trout Unlimited: On the Rise. They will joined by an increasing number of productions.
"Given our commitment to providing a superior viewing experience for American sportsmen, we felt that it was essential to begin our HD offering at the start of 2010," said Sportsman president Willy Burkhardt in a statement. "Sportsman HD viewers will be able to fully immerse themselves into the shows to feel like they are out in the tree stand or on the water with our hosts. High-definition, especially for nature scenes, takes the viewer experience to an entirely new level both audibly and visually."