|Channels||Digital: 33 (UHF)|
Virtual: 55 (PSIP)
55.3: Nación TV
|Owner||Tegna Inc. |
First air date
|July 15, 1998|
Former channel number(s)
55 (UHF, 1998-2009)
42 (UHF, 2005-2019)
Mega TV (2011-2020)
Call sign meaning
|TUBe (initial/former branding) rearranged|
|HAAT||597 m (1,959 ft)|
|Translator(s)||KHOU-DT 11.4 (VHF) Houston|
Public license information
KTBU, virtual channel 55 (UHF digital channel 33), is a Quest owned-and-operated television station serving Houston, Texas, United States that is licensed to Conroe. The station is owned by Tegna Inc., as part of a duopoly with Houston-licensed CBS affiliate KHOU (channel 11). The two stations share studios at 5718 Westheimer Road near Uptown Houston; KTBU's transmitter is located near Missouri City, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County. There is no separate website for KTBU; instead, it is integrated with that of sister station KHOU.
Previously, KTBU maintained separate facilities on Old Katy Road in the northwest side of Houston, while the KHOU studios only housed KTBU's master control and some internal operations.
The station first signed on the air on July 15, 1998 from facilities located on Old Katy Road near Memorial Park in northwest Houston, and was originally owned by Charles Dowen Johnson's Humanity Interested Media (alongside KVQT-LD) and then by the Osteen family of Lakewood Church fame. The station launched as an independent station with a general entertainment format including classic and syndicated television series, movies and sports, plus a slate of locally produced shows focusing on sports, history and other topics of interest to Houstonians.
KTBU was later purchased by the Houston-based USFR Media Group, at which time the station moved from its original studios on Old Katy Road to a purpose-built facility on Equity Drive in northwest Houston previously built for the ill-fated News 24 Houston cable news channel, and changed its on-air moniker to "Houston's 55".
In May 2011, the station was sold to the Spanish Broadcasting System for $16 million. Upon the completion of the sale, KTBU dropped all local and national syndicated programs and joined SBS' Mega TV network.
On January 21, 2020, Tegna Inc. agreed to acquire KTBU for $15 million. The sale was completed on March 24, 2020, making KTBU a sister station to Tegna's CBS affiliate KHOU. Three days later, KTBU's main channel flipped to the Tegna-owned Quest multicast network, and eventually KTBU's operations were moved into KHOU's studios near Uptown Houston.
While KTBU does have an official on-air moniker as "QuestTexas 55", the station is largely a straight simulcast of KHOU's fourth digital subchannel. Upon becoming a Tegna property, it was announced that KTBU would take over as the official local television partner of Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo. KTBU is also expected to serve as a secondary CBS affiliate should KHOU interrupt programming on its primary channel to carry breaking news or severe weather coverage.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|11.11||1080i||16:9||KHOU-SD||UHF simulcast of KHOU / CBS|
|55.1||720p||KTBU-HD||Main KTBU programming / Quest|
|55.2||480i||VietSky||VietSky (in Vietnamese)|
|55.3||Nacion||Nación TV (in Spanish)|
KTBU discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 55, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 42, using PSIP to display KTBU's virtual channel as 55 on digital television receivers, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.