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Freeview to get fifth HD channel, possibly by Christmas 2011

Following successful beta testing by BBC Free to View Limited, Ofcom is inviting the other public service broadcasters: ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C, UTV and STV to apply for the fifth slot.

Following successful beta testing by BBC Free to View Limited,
published on UK Free TV

The BBC have undergone extensive subjective user testing with "a variety of HD content" and have concluded that the new version of the MPEG-4 (H.264) encoding software used for the Freeview HD multiplex can now handle five channels, up from the current four.

The material tested included:

  • A loop of critical Saturday night programming, including very difficult to code sequences from BBC programmes;
  • A combination of different sequences from the other Relevant PSBs;
  • Live content;
  • HD content from the last Olympics;
  • Very hard to code sequences on four and then all five channels.

Ofcom is now satisfied that five HD services can be run on the "BBCB" DVB-T2 multiplex by spring 2012, and possibly before Christmas 2011. This is in line with Ofcom's original plan for Freeview HD.

The possible channels that are currently broadcasting could be one from ITV: ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, ITV4 HD; one from Channel 4: E4 HD, Film4 HD; one from Channel 5: Channel 5 HD.

The other possible applicants are S4C, which is unlikely given the broadcasters funding crisis, STV and UTV have no broadcasting HD channels.

Most of the above HD channels are under "exclusive" contracts with Sky, with the exception of Film4 HD which is "exclusive" to Virgin Media. Five HD was assessed by the regulators as unsuitable for Freeview HD last year.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

9:27 PM

Dave: There is no reason why it should go to Channel 5 HD, for one thing Channel 5 has to apply.

This is an extra channel on the same multiplex, so it will appear on ALL transmitters (except those with analogue-only).

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Friday, 9 September 2011
Big Dave
2:53 PM

STV is the Scottish provider of ITV programmes. At present it transmits on Freeview HD channel 51 but not on Freesat. MOst the addional possible channels such as ITV 2 and ITV 4 are rubbish so why sate a place on Freeview with them. We have places wasted on Freeview with the +1 channels already. For th person on about Sky they broadcast on SKY channels owned by them, exclucing sport and movies, between 10 and 12 hours of orginal programming. Its a hell of a lot to pay just for that.

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Big Dave's 5 posts GB flag
Saturday, 10 September 2011
alec arblaster
8:48 AM

i understand the sheffield crosspool transmitter intends to broadcast on ch39 soon,presently emley moor uses this for its hd service,are there any plans to move either of these to prevent severe interference in south yorkshire as both are received here at very strong signal levels and are almost directly inline with one another from where i live thanks alec.

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alec arblaster's 1 post GB flag

9:05 AM

alec arblaster: At Sheffield "ArqB starts on C63 at DSO 2 (24 August 2011) at full power (1kW) and moves to final channel (this has C49 - prev C39) on 27 September (a Tuesday)"

C39 closes on Emley Moor on Wednesday 21st September 2011.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

11:05 PM

Big Dave: Actually, that's not correct. STV is the holder of the two Scottish "Channel 3 Licences", not to be confused with ITV plc, which holds the same Licenses for England and Wales.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Sunday, 11 September 2011
Mike Dimmick

12:25 PM

alec arblaster: Emley Moor's post-switchover, full-power HD service starts up on C41 on Wednesday 21st September, replacing (directly) Channel 4 analogue and (effectively) the low-power HD service currently on C39.

Sheffield's ArqB then moves from C63 to C39 on Tuesday 27 September, 6 days later.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Saturday, 17 September 2011
6:22 PM
Port Talbot

Lets hope Wales will not get more welsh channels thrust upon us. Perhaps the majority should have their way for a change.

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Fred's 2 posts GB flag
Fred's: mapF's Freeview map terrainF's terrain plot wavesF's frequency data F's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Sunday, 18 September 2011
6:24 PM

Why do bbc hd and ch 4 hd use 5.1 sound but itv hd do not

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glenn's 14 posts GB flag
Monday, 19 September 2011

8:38 PM

Fred: It may be possible that Channel 4 HD gets the extra slot in Wales...

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 20 September 2011

5:23 PM

glenn: Some channels provide "audio description" which means they have to provide only stereo for the main audio feed.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
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