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Ten more HD channels on two new Freeview HD multiplexes on air from 2014-18

Ofcom has recently suggested that BBC, Channel 4 and Arqiva plan for an interim Freeview HD service, before a new HD switchover in 2018 - to free up more space for 4G mobile broadband - could be put into service.

Ofcom has recently suggested that BBC, Channel 4 and Arqiva pla
published on UK Free TV

Just in case you missed it, in the recently published Securing long term benefits from scarce low frequency spectrum: UHF strategy statemen Ofcom document, footnote 64 is a link to BBC Channel 4 Arqiva - Interim use of 600 MHz for DTT which details "to make efficient use of the empty spectrum Ofcom will need to allocate two Multi-Frequency Networks (MFN) DTT licences to Arqiva".

The proposal suggest that, to allow for the move in 2018 to clear the 700MHz band of television frequencies - for allocation to mobile broadband - that two new DVB-T2 multiplexes are created in the 600MHz band. (see also Ofcom channel bingo II - introducing the bands and More Freeview capacity - COM7, COM8 and COM9 - in the 600MHz band).

The top 20 transmitter sites in the UK are, in terms of coverage:

Crystal Palace (17%), Winter Hill (10.2%), Sutton Coldfield (7.1%), Emley Moor (5.9%), Black Hill (3.6%), Sandy Heath (3.5%), Waltham (2.9%), Mendip, Belmont, Pontop Pike (all 2.7%), Rowridge (2.4%), Bilsdale (2.2%), Hannington (1.8%), Sudbury, Divis (both 1.7%), Craigkelly, Oxford (both 1.6%), Wenvoe (1.4%), Tacolneston (1.3%) and The Wrekin (just 1.1%).

The proposal states that:

"the BBC Executive plans to simulcast a third BBC television service and potentially the BBC Red Button video service in HD, Channel 4 plans to simulcast at least one, and potentially two, television services on the interim multiplex ... rollout of the 20 sites could complete in 2014"

This would, following the Arqiva strategy set out in Creation of Broadcast Layers 7, 8 and 9 in 600MHz released Spectrum - Arqiva 21 Sept 2011 potentially use the following allocations:

First multiplex

Sudbury - C31 100kW
Tacolneston - C31 100kW
Crystal Palace - C33 200kW
Sutton Coldfield - C33 200kW
The Wrekin - C33 20kW
Winter Hill - C31 100kW
Emley Moor - C32 200kW
Wenvoe - C31 100kW
Waltham - C31 50kW
Mendip - C33 100kW
Rowridge - C31 200kW
Belmont - C33 200kW
Bilsdale - C31 100kW
Black Hill - C32 100kW
Craigkelly - C33 20kW
Divis - C33 100kW
Hannington - C32 50kW
Oxford - C31 100kW
Pontop Pike - C33 100kW
Rowridge - C31 200kW
Sandy Heath - C32 200kW

Second multiplex

Sudbury - C37 100kW
Tacolneston - C37 100kW
Crystal Palace - C35 200kW
Sutton Coldfield - C35 200kW
The Wrekin - C35 20kW
Winter Hill - C37 100kW
Emley Moor - C34 200kW
Wenvoe - C37 100kW
Waltham - C37 50kW
Mendip - C35 100kW
Rowridge - C37 200kW
Belmont - C35 200kW
Bilsdale - C37 100kW
Black Hill - C35 100kW
Craigkelly - C34 20kW
Divis - C34 100kW
Hannington - C34 50kW
Oxford - C37 100kW
Pontop Pike - C34 100kW
Rowridge - C37 200kW
Sandy Heath - C34 200kW

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Monday, 26 November 2012

1:26 PM

Julian: You are right about a switch to DVB-T2 being unpopular with viewers who only have DV-T tuners. Hence the need to encourage the purchase of DVT-2 equipment. Ofcom has the unenviable task of trying to balance the likely demand for spectrum for 4G/5G against maintaining services for traditional TV viewers. It is a technical requirement that DVB-T2 needs to be adopted if the COM muxes end up being squeezed onto 3 SFN frequencies. This would not necessarily give any HD channels on these muxes as the users, especially the shopping channels might prefer to remain in SD for cheaper carriage. Then there was a recent report from a House of Lords committee suggesting that all TV viewing should be on-line, with the entire UHF band given over (sold) for mobile broadband. Now that would definitely be unpopular with many viewers.

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KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB flag
John Robinson

2:29 PM

KMJ: So the Lords would go for "all TV viewing should be on-line, with the entire UHF band given over for mobile broadband"? If people had to go online to get TV, they'd need all that mobile broadband and much, much more to get enough bandwidth - and people who currently pay only a TV licence would find they had to pay at least the same again for the broadband. I can't see that one going down well. Those Lords are crazy.

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John Robinson's 43 posts GB flag
John's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage

7:32 PM

Where is the extra capacity coming from for these extrs HD services on Freeview. I thought it was already full to capacity ? Will standard Freeview viewers like myself lose any services to make way for these ?

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Nedbod's 619 posts GB flag
Charles Stuart

7:58 PM

@Nedbod - No, you won't lose services. There is space in the 600MHz band, as shown on the diagram above. The 600MHz band was cleared as a part of the Digital Dividend but its only viable use currently is for TV, so the plan is to give it back to that use.

What I wonder is why Ofcom have decided on only 20 transmitters for this interim service. It strikes me that it would make sense to add transmitters that serve significant cities, such as Storeton (Liverpool), Sheffield, Whitehawk Hill (Brighton) and Plympton (Plymouth). I also think that it would be reasonable for the people in Aberdeen, Londonderry and Swansea to be offered this service

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Charles Stuart's 159 posts GB flag
Charles's: mapC's Freeview map terrainC's terrain plot wavesC's frequency data C's Freeview Detailed Coverage

10:19 PM

Ofcom, press, radio and television should be widely publicising this plan and ensuring that all viewers know what future-compatible equipment to invest in from now on. There will be more than chagrin when people discover that, contrary to expectations, their post-DSO aquired sets and boxes will receive a diminishing selection of what will be available. The trend would seem to be : "we know what is best (delete: for corporate profits) but we could have a jolly consultation to ignore". There will always be a significant proportion of viewers who cannot receive satellite or viable broadband - or local DAB. (This will, of course, not apply to Lords etc.)

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michael's 869 posts GB flag
Peter Henderson

11:36 PM

Charles: The other two main Freeview transmitters in NI are Limivady and Brougher Mountain. The Londonderry transmitter is a PSB relay only.

I'm surprised neither Limivady or Brougher are included.

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Peter Henderson's 240 posts GB flag
Peter's: mapP's Freeview map terrainP's terrain plot wavesP's frequency data P's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 27 November 2012

7:10 AM

Peter I would expect more people in NI might be aware of DVB-T2 due to the reception of TV from Ireland now both are digital and the use of DVB-T2 in Ireland.

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David's 306 posts GB flag

10:51 AM

David: DVB-T2 is used in Northern Ireland for the NIMM and Freeview HD.

The RoI used DVB-T, but with MPEG-4.

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Briantist's 38,901 posts GB flag

12:32 PM

Declan McGrath: Llanddona is the number 53 terms of the homes covered. The proposal is for the top 20 transmitters only.

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Briantist's 38,901 posts GB flag
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