Most of us watch television when we want to disconnect from our day to day lives, when we come home in the evenings and are eating dinner or when we really have nothing better to do (although some might argue that there is always something to be done). And since some of us have begun dreading having to leave our kids in front of the television because of the poor quality shows that they are subjected to our television sets remain turned off for most of the time. But even when almost all voices greatly protest against television and the way it is designed to turn people into uneducated mindless drones there still are intelligent channels that survive today’s struggle for entertainment quantity over quality. So here are a few of the most interesting documentary channels:
1. Animal Planet
Even since before I could talk I was interested in animals (or so my parents tell me) but if this was the case for me it must be the case for any toddler, child or teenager (well maybe not so much with teenagers). So it would be fair to assume that round-the-clock documentaries should keep the little ones happy, and since in 2007 Animal Planet HD was launched (the 1080i high definition simulcast of the channel), you should be pleased not only with the content but also with the great detail of the shows you are watching.
2. National Geographic Channel
This is another subscription channel that features non-fiction television programs, most of which documentaries involving science, nature, culture or history. The channels sister, Nat Geo Wild focuses primarily on wildlife and animal programs. This channel also has an HD simulcast in 720p that has launched in 2006.
3. BBC Knowledge
This television channel belongs to the BBC production house in the UK and airs uninterrupted documentaries (yes, this means no commercial breaks, although they sometimes do come in handy when you need to use the toilet) in five different directions: cultures around the world, science and technology, the human body, history and business.
4. The Discovery Channels
This group of specialty channels airs documentary shows focused on history, science and technology. In the US there is also a deal of reality television such as the popular MythBusters, Dirty Jobs, Unsolved History or Shark Week. Discovery Channel is broadcasted worldwide in more than 431million homes and in 33 languages. It too has an HD simulcast (as should all respectable documentary channels).
5. History Channel
This is an international cable and satellite channel that airs programs involving historical issues, often combined into themed weekends or even marathons. Although some shows compare contemporary situations with the past, there are also many shows dealing with religious interpretations, with conspiracy theories, speculation and since 2008 reality television has begun making its way into this channel as well.
6. Military Channel
Warfare and military issues have rarely been the focus of an entire television channel but in 1999 the Military Channel was launched as part of the Discovery Communications Group and it airs war related programs dealing with aerial warfare, military technology and history of war.
7. Science channel
Also documentary focused, this USA cable and satellite channel that airs programs involving technology, space, astronomy, animals and prehistory. It features many series, some of the best known being: “An idiot abroad”, “Beyond Tomorrow”, “Brainiac”, “Extreme Engineering”, “How it’s Made”, “Raging Planet” and many others and since 2007 it also has an HD 1080i simulcast.
8. Crime and Investigation Network
This brand of channels launched in 2004 and is available on cable and also in 720p simulcast. It airs crime dramas, mystery series and crime documentary shows. This channel, as well as National Geographic and Animal Planet and many other are available with the Time Warner offers.
9. The Biography Channel
Owned by the A&E this channel was launched in 1999 and mainly airs biographical shows but also non biographical programs or fictional shows such as “Women Behind Bars”, “Mothers who kill”, “Biography”, “Ghostly encounters” and many more.
10. C-Span (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network)
This is a non-profit American channel launched in 1979 airing federal government proceedings as an act of public service. It basically airs important political matters and events within the US but also about the British or the Canadian Parliament as an independently operating channel, influenced neither by Congress nor by the cable industry.