Is there a big problem with the Freeview HD plan?
Ofcom and the BBC have proposed (or possibly decided) to launch a three/four HDTV service using multiplex B, starting in late 2009 using the (unratified) DVB-T2 standard. (see The "secret" Ofcom plan for Freeview HDTV: DVB-T2 - ukfree.tv - independent digital television and switchover advice, since 2002)
This proposal is to use the 256QAM broadcast mode.
Ofcom's predictions for coverage of multiplex B at switchover seem to be based on using 64QAM mode, however.
We need to know if the BBC will increase the power levels of multiplex B to match the coverage of the other six (or three where appropriate) multiplexes, or will the coverage of multiplex B (in the HD mode) therefore be less than it would be if left in 64QAM mode?
The BBC did a good piece of research back in 2002, to test the differences between the Freeview modes. BBC - R&D - Publications - WHP056
However, no such tests have been done to compare the effect of 256QAM mode to 64QAM, so it seems possible that the proposed Freeview HD service will actually restrict the services received by many licence fee payers.
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