The G4 channel was originally geared toward male viewers aged 12–34, devoted to the world of video games and the video game lifestyle. More recently, the channel has diverted its focus to general interest programming that targets male viewers aged 17–36. G4 launched on April 24, 2002. The name "G4" originally stands for the four generations of video games (text, sprites, polygons and textures).
The initial concept was create a service similar to TechTV but "geared more toward MTV's demographics". The network was launched with 13 original series. G4 was originally led by Charles Hirschhorn, a former president of Walt Disney Television and Television Animation. He expected video game creators themselves to eventually produce programming for the network. Hirschhorn intended G4 to become a vehicle for unconventional advertising. In 2002, G4 offered advertisers "wide latitude to place their products on G4's programs, and even allowing their commercials to appear as if they're a part of the program. On March 25, 2004, Vulcan Inc. sold TechTV to G4 Media who then merged both channels to soon become G4TechTV. The original TechTV production facilities located in San Francisco, CA would be closed and the new network would be located in Los Angeles, CA. Charles Hirschhorn of G4 was put in charge of the combined entity.
Reaction to this news left many fans of both channels strong feelings of displeasure and hostility, seeing the removal of almost all the original shows from both G4 and predominantly TechTV, and the immediate firing of many employees (including the spontaneous termination of most/all original TechTV employees and hosts). The relocation of a technology/video gaming network away from the San Francisco area(where a large portion of game/tech development takes place; also see Silicon Valley) also seemed very foolish to many. On February 15, 2005, less than a year after the merger, TechTV was officially dropped from the channel's name in the U.S. completely, and is now known only as G4. However, on the network's affiliate in Canada, the TechTV name still remains strong(along with some original TechTV programming and more), and the channel is also still known as G4TechTV Canada.