TechTV: Wikis


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Type Defunct Cable network
Country United States
Availability International
Founded by Ziff-Davis
Slogan New Things. Turn Us On.
Owner Ziff Davis
Vulcan Ventures
G4 Media
Launch date May 11, 1998
Dissolved May 28, 2004 (became G4techTV)
Former names ZDTV
Affiliates KTQW-CA
Official Website (now defunct), (now defunct), (current website)

TechTV was a 24-hour cable and satellite channel based in San Francisco, California featuring news and shows about computers, technology, and the Internet. In 2004 it merged with the G4 gaming channel which ultimately dissolved TechTV programming. At the height of its six year run, TechTV was broadcast in 70 countries, reached 43 million households, and claimed 1.9 million unique visitors monthly to its website. [1] A focus on personality-driven product reviews and technical support made it a cultural hub for technology information worldwide, still existing today online through its former hosts' webcasts, most notably the TWiT Network and Revision3.



It originally was called ZDTV by its founder, Ziff-Davis, when it debuted on May 11, 1998. It later was owned by Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures. Vulcan Ventures sold TechTV to G4 Media (owned primarily by Comcast), which merged it with the video game channel G4 in May 2004 to form G4techTV. In February 2005, the name was changed back to G4, eliminating TechTV from the name completely.

Show personalities

A few of the personalities and hosts that were featured on TechTV and G4techTV programming included Leo Laporte, Kate Botello, Patrick Norton, Chris Pirillo, John C. Dvorak, Adam Sessler, Kevin Rose, Martin Sargent, Morgan Webb, James Kim, Sumi Das, Alex Albrecht, Stephanie Siemiller, Erica Hill, Victoria Recano, and Jim Louderback.

Many former hosts of TechTV programs have gone on to create new programs distributed online: Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech, Chris Pirillo's, Systm, thebroken, From The Shadows, commandN, Diggnation, Infected with Martin Sargent, DL.TV, CrankyGeeks, InDigital, East Meets West, and Weezy and the Swish are some of the current shows being produced.

Leo Laporte hosted Call for Help which aired until April 6, 2007. It was revamped and renamed The Lab with Leo Laporte and was shown on G4techTV Canada and the Australian HOW TO Channel. The show was filmed in HD and Laporte hoped to have it picked up by an American network. The series has since been cancelled due to poor ratings.



ZDTV logo

Vulcan Ventures first invested in ZDTV in November 1998, acquiring a one-third interest from Ziff-Davis. In November 1999, Vulcan purchased the remaining two-thirds in a transaction that was completed on January 21, 2000. The deal (which permitted Vulcan to temporarily continue using the "ZD" initials and "red diamond" logo) was worth approximately $204.8 million.

In July 2000, it was announced that ZDNet would be acquired by CNET, placing ZDTV in the awkward position of using the initials and logo of a company that soon would belong to its main TV programming rival. However, a new name was already being worked on.


On August 21, 2000, ZDTV was renamed TechTV, and a new on-air strategy was announced along with several new series.

Soon, TechTV made a huge commitment to live broadcasting when it launched a nine-hour experimental news program called TechLive in April 2001. The show, which catered to daytraders and business types, never caught on with TechTV's geeky audience. In November 2001, following a massive round of layoffs, TechLive was divided into three one-hour shows. In the spring of 2002, TechLive was cut further into just one thirty-minute daily news magazine show, with a focus less on tech news and more on how technology changed people's lives.

Beginning March 15, 2001, TechTV experienced repeated layoffs.[2] In 2002, Silicon Spin (which launched in May 1998) and AudioFile (launched in August 2000) were canceled, but 2003 saw the introduction of several new shows (such as Performance, Robot Wars, and Unscrewed with Martin Sargent). "Internet Tonight" was to be replaced by TechLive, but new shows created by repackaging old segments were run for several months after TechLive debuted.

In late 2001 and early 2002, many Comcast cable systems dropped TechTV from their channel lineups. At the time, some viewers speculated that this was done to eliminate a competitor to the Comcast-owned G4. When Comcast's G4 Media acquired TechTV and merged it with G4 in 2004, a second theory emerged, which suggested that Comcast's actual motive was to lower TechTV's value, and ultimately its asking price.

TechTV was also broadcast over the air on KTQW in Wichita, KS until the TechTV name was dropped during the G4 merger.[3]

A Canadian version of TechTV launched on September 7, 2001 as a joint venture of TechTV, Rogers Media, and Shaw Communications. The channel would later become G4techTV Canada to coincide with the American merger of TechTV and G4. The channel would change its name once again in mid 2009 to G4 Canada. In 2004, TechTV launched on Foxtel Digital in Australia. After the merger with G4, TechTV (then called G4techTV) left Australia lineups as its international feed ceased. On Malaysia's ASTRO platform, repeats of the international feed was run for some time after the international feed ceased before starting to import G4TV programming and retransmitting them locally. In Japan, Sony's So-net channel aired several TechTV programs until the fall of 2005 (They aired reruns after May 2004). In New Zealand, TechTV aired on Saturn Communications's channel 34 until May 2004. In addition to those countries, TechTV had existence in Russia, and the United Kingdom.


On March 25, 2004, Comcast's G4 gaming channel announced a merger with TechTV. This move became hugely controversial among loyal fans of TechTV and Leo Laporte, who, because of a contract dispute with Vulcan, left the channel. Around May 6, G4 announced the termination of 250 employees from the San Francisco office by July 10, 2004, allowing approximately 80 to 100 employees to transition to G4's main office in Los Angeles, California if they agreed to relocate there.[4]

On May 10, 2004, G4 Media completed the acquisition of TechTV from Vulcan. G4techTV was launched in the U.S. on May 28, 2004. This led to the cancellation of many of the TechTV channels throughout carriers across the world. On January 3, 2005, TechTV International began airing select programs from G4techTV.

On February 15, 2005, the TechTV brand was dropped from the United States G4techTV feed, leaving the network name as G4 - Video Game Television; since then, G4 has gone through a rebranding into a male oriented network.

TechTV shows and personalities who survived the merger

Only six TechTV personalities, Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, Morgan Webb, Adam Sessler, Chi-Lan Lieu, and Brendan Moran, survived the merger. As of January 2009, Sessler and Webb are the only remaining TechTV personalities working at G4, with Sessler being the only host remaining from the launch of the network in 1998.

In addition, only two TechTV shows, Anime Unleashed and X-Play, survived the merger without any major changes. Anime Unleashed (and in turn, all of the series which aired on the block) was canceled in March 2006—leaving X-Play the only remaining TechTV show in existence in the United States.

During the merger, members from the Anime Unleashed and X-Play message boards located on the TTV website relocated to an "exodus" board know as The Haisho. However, most members of The Haisho are still active on the G4 message boards for Anime Unleashed and X-Play.

The Screen Savers survives somewhat in Attack of the Show. Once it changed to Attack of the Show, there were several changes. The studio audience was dropped, and instead of focusing exclusively on technology, the show broadened its base to cover things like sports and movies. Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, and Brendan Moran stayed on after the transition to Attack of the Show for a short time, but Rose left on May 27, 2005, and both Lane and Moran left on April 6, 2006.


See List of programs broadcast by TechTV.


A possible TechTV reunion was announced by Leo Laporte in his blog on July 21, 2006. Further details were also announced by Chris Pirillo on his blog. But as of 2010, that has not occurred.

See also


External links

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