UHF frequencies have higher attenuation from atmospheric moisture and benefit less from 'bounce', or the reflection of signals off the ionosphere back to earth, when compared to VHF frequencies. The frequencies of 300-3000 MHz are always at least an order of magnitude above the MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency). The MUF for most of the earth is generally between 25-35 MHz. Higher frequencies also benefit less from ground mode transmission. However, the short wavelengths of UHF frequencies allow compact receiving antennas with narrow elements; many people consider them less ugly than VHF-receiving models
In the United States, UHF stations (broadcast channels above 13) originally gained a reputation for being more locally owned, less polished, less professional, less popular, and for having a weaker signal than their VHF counterparts (channels 2-13). The movie UHF, starring Weird Al Yankovic, parodies this phenomenon. Recently, with the emergence of eight major broadcast television networks, that notion has changed as bigger and bigger media companies seek a bigger slice of the television pie. Many Fox, UPN, WB, and Pax network affiliates broadcast in the UHF band.
In Britain, UHF television began with the launch of BBC TWO in 1964, using a 625-line system (which had higher resolution, and therefore required greater bandwidth, than the existing 405-line system). BBC ONE and ITV soon added their own 625-line services on UHF (British channels 21 to 69), and PAL colour was introduced on UHF only in 1967 - 1969. VHF was phased out by 1986. Today all British terrestrial television channels (analog and digital) are on UHF. A drawback to this is the very large number of small relay transmitters needed to fill in gaps in the main transmitters' coverage, which would not have been necessary wth a VHF system due to its different propagation characteristics.