PBS Home Video

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


PBS Home Video was formed in the 1980s by the Public Broadasting Service to distribute PBS programming on tape. Originally, the company had released videos under its own label "PBS Video", but they did not use a proper logo prior to 1990, and even then PBS Video remained a separate label, targeting the educational market. PBS Home Video went through a slew of distributors, such as Pacific Arts (1990-1993), Turner Home Entertainment (1994-1997), Warner Home Video (1997-2004), and Paramount Home Entertainment (2004-2011). In 2011, PBS formed a joint venture with WGBH Educational Foundation to expand their distribution operations, forcing PBS Home Video to sever their ties with Paramount, as well as merging their home video unit with WGBH Home Video, resulting in the creation of PBS Distribution.

1st Logo (September 26, 1990-1998)

Visuals: The screen fades to a P-head outline on a sky background framed with black. The lines from the 1989 PBS logo come from the right side of the screen and go into the P-head's eye, after which the sky background fills the screen and the P-Head reverts to its color from the 1989 TV ident as "PBS HOME VIDEO" in the familiar ITC Lubalin Graph Bold font, with rippling waves fades in at the bottom of the screen.


  • At the end of Pacific Arts-distributed tapes, only the animation with the lines going into the P-Head's eye plays. This closing variant was used until 1994.
  • A later short version shows the completed logo.

Technique: Live-action and CGI.

Audio: A quiet piano/string/flute sounder, composed in the key of D major. About a second into the logo, a female announcer says "The following presentation is from PBS Home Video."

Audio Variants:

  • The end variant uses the same opening melody, but ends with two piano/flute notes.
  • At the end of some Turner-era tapes, an announcer-free version of the opening variant's music plays.
  • The other short version has no music.

Availability: Seen on PBS Home Video tapes from Pacific Arts and Turner Home Entertainment. On later tapes (such as Adventures from the Book of Virtues), the national PBS logo in use at the time (or just the Turner logo, as seen on most Baseball tapes) appears instead. The later short version appears on Warner Resound's prints of Adventures from the Book of Virtues and Crusade: The Life of Billy Graham.

2nd Logo (2000-2004)

Visuals: On a white background that quickly fades to a yellow-tinted version of the 8th PBS logo's background, three P-head circles (one vermilion, one green, and one dodger blue) zoom out and merge to form a fuchsia P-head circle. When "PBS HOME VIDEO" ("PBS DVD" on DVD releases) fades in, the P-head circle turns black.

Technique: 2D computer animation by Lee Hunt Associates.

Audio: A funky drum/bass riff with a light "ding", followed by a mellow synth-piano remix of the 1998 PBS logo's music. Composed in C major.

Availability: Seen on PBS Home Video and DVD releases from Warner Home Video, such as The Secret Life of the Brain and American Experience: War Letters. It didn't start to be used until PBS started releasing DVDs in 2000.

3rd Logo (2004-2009)

Visuals: The PBS standard logo animation from 2002: two lens flares cascade across a black background, causing an explosion that reveals several zooming layers of the PBS P-Head logo, all now against a blue/pink/red gradient background with a bubblegum pink motif in the center. A black circle zooms in as the features of the P-Head slide into it, as the letter "P" and then "BS" slide in next to the circle in its corporate font. The background continues to shine.

Technique: CGI from PMcD Design.

Audio: Same as the 2002 PBS logo.

Availability: It appeared on PBS DVD and Blu-ray releases from Paramount Home Entertainment until 2009, as well as certain PBS video podcasts from the time (always shortened). It also appears on a 2016 DVD of Castle, a reprint from 2006.

PBS Home Video
PBS Distribution