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)