A graphical user interface for an entertainment system assists a viewer while navigating channels. The user interface is a channel bar which is displayed together with the currently selected channel. The channel bar has a plurality of linearly arranged channel-related icons for navigating the channels. A viewer-controllable focus is movable along the channel bar to permit the viewer to select and actuate any one of the icons, causing the entertainment system to jump to the channel associated with the selected icon. The entertainment system is a computerized viewing unit which has a processor, memory, and a multitasking operating system that provides a graphical user interface environment which supports presentation of graphical windows. An application executes on the processor to provide the channel bar user interface. An input device--such as a mouse, keyboard, remote control handset, etc.--enables the viewer to invoke the channel bar and to manipulate the focus along the channel bar. The channel bar UI includes a banner which contains information pertaining to the presently selected channel and a recent channels bar which contains linearly-arranged actuatable icons that are associated with channels that have been most recently selected by the viewer. The channel bar UI also includes a favorite channels bar having actuatable icons for channels most preferred by the viewer and a tools bar having actuatable icons that are associated with control features for operating the entertainment system. The tools bar has an icon which permits a viewer to toggle between a television mode, in which programs are displayed full screen, and a windows mode in which the program and channel bar are confined to a window.