Watch ABC Live Stream HD
ABC’s network feeds are transmitted in 720p high definition, the native resolution format for The Walt Disney Company’s U.S. television properties. However, most of Hearst Television’s 16 ABC-affiliated stations transmit the network’s programming in 1080i HD, while 11 other affiliates owned by various companies carry the network feed in 480i standard definition either due to technical considerations for affiliates of other major networks that carry ABC programming on a digital subchannel or because a primary feed ABC affiliate has not yet upgraded their transmission equipment to allow content to be presented in HD.
ABC began its conversion to high definition with the launch of its simulcast feed, ABC HD, on September 16, 2001, at the start of the 2001–02 season, with its scripted prime time series becoming the first shows to upgrade to the format. The network’s slate of freshmen scripted series were broadcast in HD from their debuts, while all scripted series held over from the 2000–01 season were converted from standard-definition to high definition beginning that season.
With the 2011 cancellation of Supernanny, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition became the only remaining program on the network’s schedule that was broadcast in 4:3 standard definition. All of the network’s programming has been presented in HD since January 2012 (with the exception of certain holiday specials produced prior to 2005 – such as the Peanuts specials – which continue to be presented in 4:3 SD), when Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ended its run as a regular series and One Life to Live (which had been presented in 16:9 standard definition since 2010) also ended its ABC run. The affiliate-syndicated Saturday morning E/I block Litton’s Weekend Aventure is also broadcast in HD, and was the first children’s program block on any U.S. broadcast network to feature programs available in the format upon its September 2011 debut.
On September 1, 2016, ABC began to use 16:9 framing for all of most graphical imaging (primarily the network’s logo bug, in-program promotions and generic closing credit sequences as well as sports telecasts, where the BottomLine and scoreboard elements now extend outside the 4:3 frame), requiring its stations and pay television providers to display its programming in a compulsory widescreen format, either in high definition or standard definition; with the change, some programs (such as Grey’s Anatomy, The Goldbergs and Quantico) also began positioning their main on-screen credits outside the 4:3 aspect ratio. This left CBS and The CW as the last two major networks to continue to prefer 4:3 framing for graphics, with CBS converting to 16:9 framing effective September 24, 2018.