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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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Thursday, 6 December 2012

4:14 PM

John: Freesat TV's always combine this with a Freeview reception facility but not necessarily Freeview HD unless on a more upmarket model, the lack of on your TV assumed as being what you are referring to?

However as far as recording from the TV is concerned, Freesat TV's are basically not any different from Freeview types in this respect, as although this can be done on most types via the AV1 socket (AV1 & 2 on Panasonics) there are models that do not have an output facility via these sockets.

Just out of interest, what model of TV are you referring to?

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jb38's 7,179 posts GB flag

8:50 PM

Dave: Sanity is not on the agenda of a free society. We all get unwanted phone calls offering services we don't want. But they persevere because a very few respond and open their wallet. We settle for disconcerting aberations so as to enjoy the best of freedoms. We know full well what the alternatives looked and look like. The commercial imperative is conclusive: if advertising and shopping channels didn't work, they would switch to more lucrative enterprises. There is no such thing as a free lunch - unless you work for offcon or the big chathouse and nod to commercial imperatives over the Cognac...

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michael's 869 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

9:50 PM

I don't expect there will be much all-new content on these multiplexes. I expect them to carry more HD simulcasts of existing services, probably services that are already available in HD on satellite, though the BBC's service(s) will be new.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
Friday, 7 December 2012

6:21 AM

Mike I thought BBC HD and one of BBC3 or 4 were to have gone by now, have they decided to keep them?
Also what happened to BBC 2 going HD?

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David's 306 posts GB flag

9:50 AM

David: BBC HD will become BBC TWO HD in the new year. Neither BBC three or BBC FOUR were ever up for closure.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

11:20 AM

David: That's spin from the Telegraph. It was never the actual case if you stick to the facts.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

3:10 PM

Mike Dimmick: I would have expected the channels to be entirely made up of existing output to keep costs down. In due course the standard def. version on Freeview might be replaced by the HD versions in the event of the muxes becoming DVB-T2 only. Satellite could see the retention of free to air standard definition, with HD remaining as subscription services. There is a problem with following the lead of NHK on satellite, where the SD version was turned off in favour of the free to air HD version, in that there are too many standard definition satellite receivers that would lose the channel if this process was applied to main UK channels. There will no doubt be numerous complaints when Freeview changes to DVB-T2!

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KMJ,Derby's 1,811 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

5:44 PM

Just to clarify, when I said 'new', I meant that it would be HD simulcasts of existing BBC channels: just not ones that are currently broadcast in HD. There is no chance whatever in this climate that the BBC Trust and DCMS would approve an entirely new service.

David: That story dates from the end of 2010, just after the real-terms cut in funding and additional mandatory spending were announced, when the BBC had not announced how they planned to deal with it. Now they have. BBC Three and Four will remain, but "play supporting roles to the two bigger channels", BBC Three being aligned with BBC One, and Four with Two. BBC - Inside the BBC - Delivering Quality First

BBC HD's replacement by BBC Two HD is in order to save the, actually quite small, cost of its separate scheduling, continuity, branding and playout. This is around £2.8m per year. It's almost an accounting trick actually, because all the necessary HD infrastructure for BBC Two will then be divided among BBC Two's much higher viewer base and result in a lower cost per viewer hour, the standard that the BBC use to assess value for money.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag

9:49 PM

If there is little new programming content on interim 600MHz HD channels, how many viewers will invest in new boxes just to see the same in HD? That could be the achilles heel of the intent to woo viewers into voluntarily buying new equipment before they are forced to do so in "phase two". The Ofcom document makes it clear
that 700MHz is to be surrendered to mobile services if at all feasible. Pity that this was not part of the original vision from the outset of DSO planning!

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michael's 869 posts GB flag
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