WXTV first signed on the air on August 4, 1968, originally operating as an independent station, carrying programs in both English and Spanish. It feature some of the programing such as TV Musical and local public affairs programing focus during the evenings. The station originally operated from studios located at 641 Main Street in Paterson, New Jersey. The station's studio facilities were later moved to 24 Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus and then to its current facilities in Teaneck.
In 1970, WXTV became an entirely Spanish-language station, and affiliated with the Spanish International Network, which became Univision in 1987. Since the mid-1980s, WXTV has used the slogan A su lado, an adaptation for the Hispanic market of the On Your Side campaign created by Frank Gari, and even used the similarly named news music package for a time.
The September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center did not affect WXTV's over-the-air signal, as WXTV's transmitter has always been based at the Empire State Building. WXTV and WCBS-TV (channel 2), who had a full-powered backup transmitter at the Empire State Building, were the only major New York City stations whose over-the-air signals were not disrupted. In fact, channel 41's news anchors gave information and updates in English as well as Spanish on the attacks, for the benefit of non-cable viewers that lost access to the stations with transmitters at the WTC.
WXTV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 41, 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 40, using PSIP to display WXTV's virtual channel as 41 on digital television receivers.
WXTV-DT presently broadcasts 17 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with three hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); in addition, the station produces an hour-long extension of its morning newscast Noticias 41 Al Despertar en UniMás for sister station WFUT which airs weekdays at 7:00 a.m. and the 15-minute sports highlight program Accion Deportiva 41, which airs Sunday nights at 11:15 p.m. as part of the 11 p.m. newscast. WXTV also maintains news partnerships with CNN en Espanol, Dominican Republic's Noticias SIN, Peru's America Television, and Mexico's Enlace Publica and utilizes the reporting staff of sister radio station WADO (1280 AM) for on-air reports.
The 6 and 11 p.m. weekend newscasts tend to be pre-empted by Univision programming that runs longer than it is scheduled to air (which is rare for the primetime schedule, unless a football (soccer) match airs). It also should be noted, that in the event that there is a technical fault occurring during either of WXTV's weekday newscasts, WXTV will cut to Univision's satellite feed until it is able to rejoin the East Coast feed for the national Univision news bulletins. Univision's satellite feed features Primer Impacto Extra from 6-6:30 and 11-11:30 p.m. for stations that do not have local newscasts.
WXTV is known for having newscasts whose ratings frequently rival its English-language counterparts. From 1972 until 2013, the station's lead news anchor was Cuban-born Rafael Pineda; his 41 years at channel 41 gave him the distinction of being the longest-serving news anchor on a New York City television station, English or Spanish.
WXTV won the July 2008 sweeps period and also became the first Spanish-language television station to win all three evening slots (local newscasts and 6 and 11 and the national news at 6:30 p.m.). WXTV's 6 p.m. newscast was also #1 among the 25-54 demographic, followed by WABC-TV (channel 7), WCBS-TV, WNJU (channel 47), WNYW (channel 5) and WNBC (channel 4). On June 22, 2010, WXTV-DT became the first Spanish-language television station in the New York City market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition.
On January 5, 2012, it was announced that WXTV's 6 p.m. newscast ended the 2011 calendar year as #1 newscast in that timeslot in the entire United States among adult demographics. WXTV outperformed all early evening local newscasts in the country, regardless of language among Adults 18-49. On May 7, 2012 beginning with WXTV's 6 p.m. newscast, the station's moved its newscasts to a temporary set and announced on the next day (May 8) on their morning newscast that WXTV was constructing a new set to debut on July 23. On May 2, 2012, WXTV's weeknight 11 p.m. newscast was extended by five minutes to 11:35 p.m. (expanding to 35 minutes in length), while the weekend late newscasts continued to run for a half-hour from 11 to 11:30 p.m.