AZPBS Channel Offerings

Arizona PBS Digital Frequently Asked Questions

What is on Arizona PBS Digital Broadcasting?

Arizona PBS is currently multicasting five channels:

Arizona PBS 8.1

Digital and widescreen programming featuring PBS landmark programming: American Experience, Nova, Masterpiece, Nature, Austin City Limits, and much more.

Arizona PBS Life 8.2

Life features a full schedule of your favorite cooking, travel, and home improvement series and specials.

Arizona PBS World 8.3

Public affairs, opinions and newsmakers, political commentary — Arizona PBS provides the context to explore the issues of the day in Arizona, nationally and around the globe. Watch Frontline, Nova, Independent Lens, Charlie Rose, Nightly Business Report, Tavis Smiley, and more.

Arizona PBS KIDS 8.4

Arizona PBS Kids is a new 24/7 channel devoted to educational programming for kids featuring PBS KIDS series such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Wild Kratts and more.

Arizona PBS Classical 8.5

Digital TV channel 8.5 simulcasts 89.5 FM KBAQ 24/7 in 5.1 channels of surround sound, including premier sound recordings produced by our own Central Sound at Arizona PBS.

How can I get Arizona PBS Digital Broadcasting?

For over-the-air reception, you need an indoor or outdoor antenna for either (a) a digital TV monitor, or (b) a digital-to-analog converter box to receive Arizona PBS HD at 8.1, Arizona PBS Life at 8.2, Arizona PBS World at 8.3, Arizona PBS KIDS at 8.4 and Arizona PBS Classical at 8.5.

Arizona PBS Digital Broadcasting is currently transmitting in Maricopa, Pinal and Mohave counties (see map). We are awaiting FCC approval to convert our translator stations in Yuma to digital signals. For cable and satellite subscribers, Arizona PBS Digital Broadcasting is available through many local providers in Maricopa, Pinal and Mohave counties. Contact your service provider for exact details. An upgrade cost and additional fees may be associated with their digital service.

On Cox, Arizona PBS HD can be found on 1008, Arizona PBS Life is on 80, Arizona PBS World can be found on 88 and the channel assignment for Arizona PBS KIDS on Cox and CenturyLink Prism is still pending.

Why does Arizona PBS broadcast 8.1 at 720p?

The main channel of Arizona PBS (8.1) operates in HD at 720p – the same format used by numerous television stations around the Valley and across the country. Like all U.S. broadcasters, Arizona PBS can only transmit a total of 19.39 MB of data. Arizona PBS uses 720p as opposed to 1080i for 8.1 to save data. This allows Arizona PBS to provide more content for viewers through channels 8.2 (Life), 8.3 (World), 8.4 (Arizona PBS KIDS) and 8.5 (KBAQ/Sun Sounds).

Imagine this in terms of a water pipe. The FCC gives each TV station a 3-inch pipe for broadcasting. A 1080i signal requires a 1.75-inch pipe, whereas a 720p signal needs a 1.25-inch pipe and an SD signal needs a 0.5-inch pipe. A 3-inch pipe could carry a 1080i program (1.75-inches) and two SD programs (two at 0.5 inches or 1 inch) for a total of 2.75 inches of water into the 3-inch pipe. Arizona PBS decided fill its 3-inch pipe with a 720p program (1.25 inches) plus three SD programs (three at 0.5 inches or 1.5 inches) for a total of 2.75 inches of water.

Does this mean that Arizona PBS/KAET no longer broadcasts an analog channel?

Unless you are living in Yuma, the analog channel Arizona PBS has gone away. Arizona PBS broadcasts five different digital channels – Arizona PBS HD, Arizona PBS Life, Arizona PBS World, Arizona PBS KIDS and Classical Arizona PBS.

The old analog frequencies will be utilized by emergency services and other wireless technologies. The new digital standard of broadcasting will provide viewers with better pictures and more television choices.

How can I access Arizona PBS HD and Arizona PBS’s additional programming?

Free over the airwaves
If you already watch television “over the air” via an antenna, you will now be able to watch Arizona PBS HD in high definition video plus access all five Arizona PBS channels via your antenna on your digital television or television/converter box — simply by “rescanning” your television set or converter box. For step-by-step information on how to access all five Arizona PBS channels visit our videos page.

Cable, DISH, and DirecTV subscribers
Check with your service provider about whether they provide access to all five channels of Arizona PBS’ programming. Currently, many local cable companies in rural Arizona, as well as DISH and DirecTV have opted not to offer their customers all of Arizona PBS’s channels and provide only our primary Arizona PBS HD channel. If they don’t offer these channels, all you need to do is add an over-the-air antenna to your television — visit our videos page for details.

What do these new digital transmitters mean for rural Arizonans?

  • You will now have free over-the-air access to Arizona PBS HD (DTV 8.1) programming with beautiful high definition video.
  • You will now have free over-the-air access to Arizona PBS’s other digital channels, including Arizona PBS Life (DTV 8.2), Arizona PBS World (DTV 8.3), Arizona PBS KIDS (DTV 8.4) and Classical Arizona PBS (DTV 8.5).
  • You will now have access to the SunSounds reading service for the visually impaired via 8.5 secondary audio.