When most people think of the U.S. PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) network, they immediately think of “old & stuffy”, Masterpiece Theater and antiques. Well, for the most part they are right since those things are the stock and trade of the member & government supported channels, but it is trying to make sure it is enjoyed well into the 21st century.

PBS announced today that it has launched a redesigned PBS.org, and unveiled an app for the iPad that are both focused on reinventing the company as a multimedia concern.  The network doesn’t yet have the apps ready for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but both of those are definitely being worked on and should be released in the near future.

“During the last two years, PBS has reinvented its approach to serving the American public by becoming a multi-platform innovator, introducing industry-firsts such as the integration of interactive educational games into linear video and the use of augmented reality to teach science to pre-schoolers,” said Jason Seiken, senior vice president, Interactive, Product Development and Innovation. “Built on public media’s local-national model, this next generation of services delivers content in vital areas, such as news, the arts, and children’s educational media, to PBS.org’s 20 million monthly users and across mobile devices.”

PBS iPad App

PBS iPad App

Both the app and the site will allow you to set your closest PBS station as your primary station, and not only will you get access to the national shows, but the ones that your local station produces as well.  There is already 4,700 hours of programming available to watch through the interfaces that covers all of their various genres.

This is another major step in television networks realizing they must embrace the digital medium, and making you once again just how much you may no longer need to have a cable subscription.

The only question left now: Will you get ads asking for donations during the annual pledge drives?

What say you?  Willing to give PBS a try in the digital realm?