Freeview HD gets launch date


The launch date for Freeview HD has been revealed as 2nd December. That is the date in which Multiplex B – the multiplex that is being utilised for HD transmissions goes live at the Winter Hill transmitter. Put simply, this means that Freeview HD will be available to the Winter Hill areas of Liverpool and Manchester.

The plan is to increase the Freeview HD transmissions in the first half of next year. The Crystal Palace transmitter, which covers much of London, may also be upgraded in December – even though the proposed date for this, according to Ofcom, is 2012.

Graham Plumb, head of distribution technology at the BBC stated that Ofcom’s dates were merely a “backstop contingency”.

Earlier this month we told you how Five had been added to the Freeview HD line-up alongside the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Users will need a HD Freeview box to receive the channels as the HD content will not be decoded by existing Freeview equipment. Some TVs, such as the Sony W4000 and the Loewe Connect, already have the hardware in order to do this though, without the need for a box.

(via BBC blog)

Five given HD freeview slot


Ofcom has provisionally awarded Five a HD slot, allowing the network to broadcast in HD over the Freeview network when the capacity becomes available.

Five follows in the footsteps of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, who have already been awarded their licenses. It was believed that Channel 4 was vying for a second licence in order to broadcast their E4 channel in HD.

Ofcom has stated, however, that the agreement with Five relies on them meeting “certain key criteria” by 31st December 2009. They also confirmed that Five’s HD output would only be at peak times.

This is good news for fans of shows like CSI:Miami, The Gadget Show and Bones. Bad news for fans of The Wright Stuff, Wordplay and House Doctor.

Freeview HD is expected in 2010, but when you’ll actually be able to get it really depends on where you live. Ofcom say the north-west will be first to receive Freeview HD after its switch-over. Everyone should be able to get the full Freeview HD package by 2012.

(via Brand Republic)

Gallery: Facebook is five today. See how it's evolved


On Friday 4th February 2005, Facebook was born. Initially designed as a way for students to connect online, the past five years has seen it grow into a huge social network with a huge variety of people connecting with friends, relatives and complete strangers on a daily basis.

In his blog post, Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, wrote:

While we at Facebook make products that enable people to share information efficiently, Facebook is mostly the product of the people who use it. Without you and the connections you make to others, the products we create wouldn’t have much meaning. So we feel fortunate to have all of you with us. To express our appreciation, we’ve created a “Thank You” gift, which will be available tomorrow in the Facebook Gift Shop for you to to give freely to others. In the spirit of celebrating connections between people, we encourage you to use this gift to give thanks to your friends, colleagues and family members with whom you are connected on Facebook.

Take a wander through the past five years and see how Facebook has evolved…

Five finally coming to Freesat: 18th November


Since Freessat’s May launch, one notable absentee from the channel line-up was Five.

Due to a contract with Sky, the broadcaster wasn’t able to commit to Freesat straight away, but from Tuesday 18th November it takes up residence on channel 105.

Five has advanced a lot since the early days of bad reception and seedy porn (well, the reception’s better at least). Its autumn schedule includes Paul Merton in India, 1968 Unseen, Dangerous Adventures for Boys, Unbreakable and Axe Men…

BT Vision to get Five On Demand service this month


BT Vision customers will soon be able to catch up with a range of Five’s programming thanks to a deal which brings the On Demand service to BT’s broadband TV service.

Users can pay 99p to watch single episodes, or get unlimited access by subscribing to Vision TV for six quid per month.

If you’re feeling the pinch and want to save some cash, it’s worth noting that you can watch a lot of UK-based shows from Five on your computer at the Demand Five web site, although many of the US favourites such as CSI and NCIS must be paid for…