Weatherscan is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by a consortium owned in turn by NBCUniversal and investment firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. A spinoff of The Weather Channel, Weatherscan features uninterrupted local weather information in graphical format on a continuous loop that is generated by an IntelliStar unit installed at the cable provider's headend; unlike The Weather Channel, Weatherscan does not feature on-air talent of any kind.
The channel launched on March 31, 1999, as Weatherscan Local. Originally, Weatherscan operated five collective services for local weather information: Weatherscan Local featured animated weather information with a complete local weather segment every two minutes; Weatherscan Radar featured a continuous Doppler radar loop, along with severe weather advisories when warranted; Weatherscan Plus – which debuted on April 30, 1999 – featured activity-specific forecasts for golf, skiing, boating, beachgoing, and business and leisure travel; Weatherscan Plus Traffic – which launched on May 31, 1999 – featured the same format as Weatherscan Plus with the inclusion of traffic information; Weatherscan Espanol, which launched with Weatherscan Plus Traffic, was a Spanish-language version of Weatherscan Plus allowing regional or international weather information.
The IntelliStar unit used by Weatherscan is configured differently from that used by The Weather Channel, featuring different graphics and additional forecast products, with information running on a continuous basis. Vocal Local, a pre-recorded narration function installed in the IntelliStar system – which utilizes a different narration track than that used on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s forecast segments, featuring a female announcer – introduces several of the segments.
Weatherscan is available in many major markets around the United States, though its availability is not as widespread as that of parent network The Weather Channel. Many cable providers offer Weatherscan on their digital tiers, although a few providers carry Weatherscan on their basic tier (where The Weather Channel is also offered). In 2011, Dish Network became the first satellite provider to add Weatherscan.
Verizon FiOS has dropped Weatherscan (on channel 49), along with parent network The Weather Channel from its lineup from midnight Monday, March 9/Tuesday March 10, 2015 Eastern Time after the two parties were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement. The service has been replaced by the local WeatherBug "widget" in some markets. No public announcement was made regarding this issue until over 12 hours after the discontinuation. Verizon said that its reason for dropping such services was because many customers turn to the internet and mobile apps for weather any time of day. This makes Weatherscan widely absent in one of the top 5 markets, especially where cable clusters don't carry this network.
While the domestic IntelliStars were decommissioned and replaced by the IntelliStar 2 HD/jr./XD units on November 16, 2015, the modified IntelliStar units are currently still active for Weatherscan.
Weatherscan displays a variety of forecast products that show different types of weather information, some of which are not included on certain providers.
From 1999 during the early 2000s, when the channel's segments were generated mainly by WeatherStar XL systems, five different products could be chosen for display.
Note: "Domestic IntelliStar" refers to STARs that output content for The Weather Channel.
When Weatherscan Local debuted in 1999, the channel maintained a national feed that was used for satellite and smaller cable providers that could not afford a secondary and more technologically advanced WeatherStar system to use for a local Weatherscan feed. The national feed, branded as simply Weatherscan, debuted in July 1998, and ran current temperatures and extended forecasts for select cities throughout the United States, as well as national and regional radar images. There is uncertainty as to whether or not the national version was discontinued; however, since Weatherscan Local simplified its name to "Weatherscan" in 2003, it is likely that the national feed was discontinued during or around that time.
A new Weatherscan feed launched in July 2011 for Dish Network subscribers, replacing the short-lived service The Weather Cast that had been founded as a replacement for The Weather Channel as a result of a May 2010 carriage dispute with the satellite provider; the Weatherscan feed provides regionalized information for cities within 125 miles of a given area, and is delivered in the same manner as the Weatherscan systems on cable providers.