Glenn Valenta, Pioneer of High-Definition Television, Dies at 53

Courtesy of AXS TV

He served as chief engineer of HDNet (now known as AXS TV) since its inception 14 years ago

Glenn Valenta, a pioneer of high-definition broadcast technology who was instrumental in building the first 24/7 HD television network, died July 28 at his home in Denver after an eight-year battle with cancer. He was 53.

Valenta served as chief engineer of HDNet/AXS TV since its inception 14 years ago.

At HDNet, the network founded by Mark Cuban and Philip Garvin, Valenta provided the engineering acumen that led to high-definition broadcasts of the Olympics, the Triple Crown horse races and NASA shuttle launches; video uplinks from Iraq; and a regularly scheduled news program.

Born in 1960 in Wausau, Wis., Valenta started at WSAU-TV out of high school and at age 20 was named chief engineer at KVOX AM/FM in Moorhead, Minn.

He moved to KODE-TV in Joplin, Mo., followed by jobs at KUSA-TV and Ceavco in Denver. After a brief time with his own consulting business, he took the engineering job in 1991 at Colorado Studios, which transitioned to HDNet/AXS TV.

Valenta also helped launch the sister channel HDNet Movies, which airs films only in their original theatrical broadcast ratio.

“We have lost one of the most brilliant technical minds in television,” Garvin said in a statement. “There was no challenge Glenn was unwilling to take on, and he basically engineered HDNet from part and pieces of nascent high-def technology into a functioning network.”

Survivors include Carol, his wife of 34 years; stepson Jesse; parents John and Sandra; brother Mike; and sister Kerry.

A memorial service will be held Aug. 23 at Colorado Studios in Denver.