What Channel Is PBS on DirecTV? (2023 Update)

PBS logo next to DirecTV logo on TV.

What Channel Is PBS on DirecTV? (2023 Update)

There are so many channels listed on the DirecTV guide, it can be hard to find the specific network you’re looking for. This is especially true of PBS, a publicly broadcast network that easily disappears alongside all the other basic cable channels. As it turns out, the location you’re in — whether it be your city, state, or region — plays a pivotal role in determining what channel PBS is on your DirecTV lineup. Consult the table below to pinpoint your exact PBS channel based on the nearest big city.

PBS Channel Guide

City and StatePBS Channel on DirecTV
Albuquerque, NM5
Atlanta, GA30
Austin, TX18
Bakersfield, CA18
Baltimore, MD67
Bronx, NY13
Brooklyn, NY13
Buffalo, NY17
Charlotte, NC42
Chicago, IL11
Cincinnati, OH48
Cleveland, OH25
Colorado Springs, CO8
Columbus, OH34
Dallas, TX13
Denver, CO6
Detroit, MI56
El Paso, TX13
Fort Lauderdale, FL2
Ft. Worth, TX13
Fresno, CA18
Houston, TX8
Indianapolis, IN20
Jacksonville, FL7
Las Vegas, NV10
Los Angeles, CA28 or 58
Louisville, KY68
Memphis, TN10
Miami, FL17
Milwaukee, WI10 or 36
Minneapolis, MN2
New York, NY13
Oklahoma City, OK13
Orlando, FL24
Philadelphia, PA35
Phoenix, AZ8
Pittsburgh, PA13
Portland, OR10
Sacramento, CA6
St. Louis, MO9
St. Paul, MN2
Salt Lake City, UT7
San Antonio, TX9
San Diego, CA15
San Francisco, CA9 or 22
San Jose, CA54
Seattle, WA9
Tampa, FL3 or 34
Tucson, AZ27
Washington, DC26 or 32

Major PBS Stations

City and StateStationYear of AffiliationOwnership
San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (Watsonville/Salinas/Monterey), CaliforniaKQED/KQET1970KQED Inc.
San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland, CaliforniaKQEH1970KQED Inc.
Los Angeles, CaliforniaKCET1970–2011; 2019–presentPublic Media Group of Southern California
Huntington Beach/Los Angeles, CaliforniaKOCE1972Public Media Group of Southern California
Los Angeles, CaliforniaKLCS1973Los Angeles Unified School District

PBS Programming

Still from 'Sesame Street' on PBS.

Sesame Street

has aired on PBS since the 1960s.

©PBS – License

PBS’s diverse programming lineup caters to a wide range of interests and audiences alike. From comprehensive news coverage to captivating documentaries and educational children’s programming, PBS is home to commercial-free entertainment of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular programs you’ll likely find on the channel today.


News programming is one of the largest programming types on PBS. From current events to breaking stories to level-headed analysis, PBS news programming aims to inform viewers about significant bulletins around the world without slant.

Some of the most popular long-running programs include PBS NewsHour, Amanpour & Company, and BBC World News America. Together, these three shows provide comprehensive and balanced coverage of global and national news to PBS viewers.


PBS also has plenty of documentary programming. From history and science to culture and nature, PBS has a documentary series on just about any subject you can imagine. Like the news, these programs shine a light on real-life events and people. However, they tend to hit harder than objective journalism.

Some of the most popular documentary programs include NOVA, American Experience, and P.O.V. These series use a mix of archival footage, interviews, and even reenactments to educate and engage PBS audiences. For lighter fare, PBS also airs unscripted shows like Antiques Roadshow and This Old House.


You can’t talk about PBS without mentioning PBS Kids. After all, Sesame Street has played a key role in PBS’s continued success throughout the years. Through playful characters and interactive segments, PBS Kids shows teach younger viewers about letters, numbers, and even social skills.

Some popular children’s programming currently airing on PBS includes Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Cyberchase, Curious George, and, of course, Sesame Street. PBS Kids also airs reruns of Arthur, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Across the board, the goal is wholesome and educational programming to teach and entertain young viewers.


PBS isn’t all educational all the time. Sometimes, it plays acquired scripted programming, too. From Downton Abbey to Sherlock to Call the Midwife and beyond, some of the BBC’s most popular programs have found a second home on the Public Broadcasting Service. These air under the Masterpiece umbrella.

While it might not be obvious, there’s a subtle educational value to watching such scripted programming. These dramas typically explore complex themes, notable eras, and a range of human emotions throughout history — broadening the viewer’s understanding of the world outside America in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is PBS?

PBS stands for the Public Broadcasting Service. Airing across over 300 member stations nationwide, the station is a non-profit organization that provides educational and informative programming to viewers completely commercial-free. The channel offers a wide range of both scripted and unscripted shows ranging from news and documentaries to children’s programming and syndicated series.

How do you watch PBS?

You can watch PBS for free through your local cable or satellite provider. As a basic cable station, you can also access PBS with an antenna attached to your television. Most major cities and states have their own PBS member stations with different channel numbers, so be sure to check your local listings to find the right channel for your area.

Why is PBS free?

PBS is free to watch thanks to generous donations from local viewers. This makes up for a majority of your local PBS station’s funding. The Public Broadcasting Service does receive some money from government grants, but this makes up for a very small portion of its annual funding. The remainder of the station’s budget is made up of corporate sponsorships. This unique way of funding allows PBS to broadcast educational and informative content without commercials.

What kind of shows air on PBS?

PBS offers a diverse range of programming throughout the day. Your typical 24-hour period on PBS might contain news programs like PBS NewsHour, educational children’s shows like Sesame Street, gripping documentaries like NOVA, and engaging scripted dramas like Downton Abbey.

Is PBS free to stream online?

Some PBS shows are available to stream on the station’s website. Others are behind a paywall that you can only access after making a donation to your local member station. You can watch many of their classic shows on-demand for free, but more recent programs will require the PBS Passport membership that comes with your donation.

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