Ofcom approves Freeview HD channels
In what much be Ofcom's least contested consultation ever, the UK broadcasting regulator today approved the services that will go to make up Freeview HD.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive said: "This is a significant step forward in the range of choice available in the UK. It will enable viewers to watch some of the very best programmes free-to-air in high definition through their television aerials."
Freeview HD, which will start broadcasting from the end of 2009 in the Granada ITV region, will replace the services on multiplex B in each region at switch-over.
Freeview HD will carry the BBC HD service, plus - Ofcom announces today - ITV HD, Channel 4 HD and a service from Welsh language broadcaster S4C.
Channel 4 HDThe Channel 4 HD service will show UK teen drama Hollyaoks, peak time HD films (3 hours a week), UK drama, comedy, science programmes and documentaries and US shows such as Desperate Housewives.
This is the service broadcasting currently on satellite.
In Wales the service provided will be S4C HD.
ITV HDITV plc, Channel TV, stv and UTV have stated that they will simultaneously broadcast the current peak-time (18.00-23.00) ITV1 schedule in HD.
In addition there will be: sport programmes, such as theFA Cupand the2010 Football World Cup, in HD; newly-commissioned drama series (such asMiss Marple)in HD; and programmes about the UK's nations and regions in place of the early evening and late night regional news services (in the vein of UK Today).
ITV HD is already being broadcast on Freesat.
When can I get it?Granada and already switched regions, November 2009. Wales, Scotland and the West Country in 2010;Central, Yorkshire, Anglia and Meridian in 2011; and London, Tyne Tees and Ulster by 2012.
What will I need?You will need a HD ready television set and a DVB-T2 receiver, which may be aviliable from Christmas 2009, but probably not.
Freesat already provides HD services, and with the vast capacity on satellite compared with Freeview, the picture is already twice as good as Freeview HD ever will be. Channel 4 HD is expected on Freesat in the near future.