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Have a Freeview HD or Freesat HD high definition Christmas 2012

It isn't just for the high definition Nurse Jackie, Downtown Abbey, The Snowman II or Doctor Who on Christmas Day ... Freeview HD or Freesat HD is a gift for every day of the year.

It isn't just for the high definition Nurse Jackie, Downtown Ab
published on UK Free TV

For the first time this year, everyone can enjoy the benefits of free-to-air high definition television. Freeview HD is broadcast to all homes in the UK, and Freesat HD beams the same services to everyone with a dish

Four high definition channels of first-run UK programmes

Which are:

  • BBC One HD. This channel shows high definition versions of most programmes on BBC One, with a commitment to move towards 100% high definition output over the coming years.
  • BBC HD. All the programmes on this channel are in high definition, and comprises mainly a simulcasts of BBC TWO (with some BBC three and BBC FOUR shows added in). The channel will become BBC TWO HD in 2013.
  • ITV 1 HD (or STV1 HD in Scotland or UTV1 HD in Northern Ireland). As with BBC One HD, this is a high definition version of the most popular commercial channel.
  • Channel 4 HD. Again, a simulcast of the main Channel 4 channel in high definition.

What programmes can I watch at Christmas in high definition?

Doctor Who: Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Richard E Grant and Tom Ward feature in a Christmas 1892 tale - will the Doctor really abandon humankind or will he fight to save the world from the icy clutches of this mysterious menace?

Arena: Sister Wendy And The Art Of The Gospel: An instant 1990's star, she glided around the world in her habit telling us the story of painting. But she revealed nothing of her own, extraordinary story.

The Snowman and The Snowdog: the brand new charming sequel to the Christmas classic The Snowman which will be at the centrepiece of Channel 4's Christmas schedule this year celebrating a magical end to a special year.

The Downtown Abbey family receive a warm welcome at Duneagle Castle, visiting Rose and her parents in the Highlands. But there is no disguising the tensions between their hosts. Carson is determined to keep the servants back at Downton working hard, but with a country fair coming up, will some be tempted to push their luck? Could romance be on the cards for Mrs Patmore?

Why would I want to upgrade to HD?

High definition pictures are much better for sport

One of the main improvements in high definition is the ability to provide much better motion for sport compared to standard digital television.

Clearer pictures for documentaries and drama

Many of the most popular high definition shows are documentaries and drama where the clarity of the picture gives a distinct edge to the viewing experience.


As movies have always been created on 35mm film (rather than videotape), this means that any movie created since the 1920s can be shown in high definition.

All existing Freeview services

In addition, you also get all of the existing Freeview channels (see Freeview channels listed) with Freeview HD or Freesat channels (Freesat channels listed ).

Better overlap handling on Freeview HD

Another benefit of Freeview HD boxes is that they deal much better than standard boxes when you live in an area served by more than one transmitter. These boxes now prompt you to select your BBC and ITV region, older boxes just guess.

Christmas installing

You may be able to watch in HD by pressing some buttons on your remote control - but you might need a new (HDMI) cable, or a Freeview HD or Freesat HD box. You have to ask yourself five questions:

Q1 Do you have a high definition television set?

You need to check that your television is actually high definition. Almost all HDTVs are flat screen, but it does not follow that all flat screen televisions are high definition.

The best two clues to look for are the "HD Ready" or "Full HD Ready" logos, and also that the television set has HDMI connectors.

If you have the manual for your television set, it may describe HD as "720 line" or "1080 line". If these are not mentioned, you don't have HD and you will need a new television set.

See also What does "Full HD Ready" actually mean? - - independent free digital TV advice

Q2 Does your HDTV have built in Freeview HD or Freesat HD?

Most HD televisions sold in the UK are "HD Ready", which means that they are capable of showing high definition pictures, but only from an external box.

Some, more expensive, TV sets have Freeview HD or Freesat HD built in.

If your TV set has the Freeview HD logo, it can receive what are known as "DVB-T2" transmissions, which means you get HD direct from the TV aerial connection. If this is the case, see Q4. If the set is "HD Ready with Freeview" it means you can't.

Some high end sets have Freesat HD built in, where you can watch the free high definition channels from satellite. For this to work you will have to use the satellite connection on the set. Remember that set will also have standard definition Freeview, so pictures from the normal TV aerial will not be in high definition.

Q3 If your HDTV doesn't have built-in reception - do you have a Freeview HD or Freesat HD box and the correct cables?

If you have an HD Ready television, you can connect it to an external set-top box to receive either Freeview HD or Freesat HD.

You must make sure that you connect the box to the television set using an HDMI cable. If you use a SCART lead you won't have HD.

Q4 Do you remember to switch to the HD versions of BBC One, ITV 1 or Channel 4?

You do not automatically get to watch BBC One, ITV 1 (or STV/UTV) or Channel 4 in HD.

You must select the special channel numbers for these services, as the usual channel numbers (1, 3, 4 and 8 on Freeview, 101, 103, 104 on satellite) will only show in standard definition.

Q5 Is the HD channel actually showing an HD programme?

Only the BBC HD channel has a HD-only schedule. On BBC One HD, ITV 1 HD and Channel 4 HD non-HD programmes are shown "upscaled" to HD resolutions and look better than the pictures on the SD version of the channel.

Check in the EPG (usually the INFO or GUIDE button on the remote) to see if the programme that is being shown has an HD marker in the listings.

Recording and live pausing with Freeview+HD or Freesat+HD

Humax box

As well as the basic Freeview HD and Freesat HD boxes, you can also purchase Freeview+HD and Freesat+HD boxes, which contain a hard disk drive (as found in computers) and two digital tuners. This allows, much like the popular Sky+ and Freeview+ boxes you to:

  • Record a whole series of a show with a single button press
  • Record one show whilst watching another one live
  • Record two shows while you watch a recording from the drive.
  • Set a show to record by pressing a button when you see a trailer for it.

Freeview+ record/play/pause devices DO NOT require a special aerial to work. However the satellite recorders, Freesat+ DOES require a special double-cable to connect to a quad-LNB on the dish.

Where will it work?

Freeview HD and Freesat HD work everywhere in the UK. You need only a rooftop aerial for Freeview HD or a satellite dish for Freesat HD.

Help with High Definition?
Whenever i watch moving sport especially football I experience much poorer pictu1
In this section
Freeview removes com8 channels 1
20 Freeview HD TV channels to close March/June 2019 in Cornwall2
Channel 4 abandons Freesat HD in TWO DAYS3
Five tips for when you are buying a new TV to watch Freeview or Freesat4
Why do less than one in five people with an HD set watch in HD?5
All five public service channels now free to air!6

Monday, 10 December 2012

2:42 PM

If anybody is just buying a Freeview box now, I would strongly recommend that they buy a Freeview HD box, even if they don't have a HD ready TV due to the fact that the box will be futureproofed for if the SD channels ever transition to DVB-T2. It is even more important in Northern Ireland due to the new "mini-multiplex" that uses DVB-T2 despite the channels on that multiplex being SD only. Also, if anybody is buying a new TV set, I would recommend only getting on with the Freeview HD logo on for the same futureproofing reasons as I just mentioned.

Cost isn't so much of any excuse anymore, considering how cheap DVB-T2 boxes have become.

Of course, I am not suggesting that everybody who already has DVB-T only equipment to bin it, but anybody buying anything new in terms of Freeview equipment, should only buy DVB-T2 only equipment!

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Josh's 97 posts GB flag
Mark Agius

6:00 PM

If anybody is just buying a Freeview box now ...
... but can't afford a new TV, or don't have room for another TV, you can view HD channels on your old SD TV set.

HD on a SD TV set.
The picture quality will be 'standard quality' and not 'high quality'.

There will be no advantage viewing the HD version of BBC1, ITV1 or Channel 4,
but you will get the BBC HD programs. (Until it turns into BBC2 HD).

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Mark Agius's 374 posts GB flag

7:20 PM

trevorjharris: Corrected the Channel 4 HD number to 230... thanks.

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

9:36 PM

Had a perfectly fine Freeview 26" CRT that for about 5 years until recently - but decided now was a good time for a bigger and better TV with built-in Freeview HD and Smart features. Went for the Samsung UE40ES5500, excellent HD picture and great for connecting up to the PC or PS3 and totally future proofed! :)

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Michael's 358 posts GB flag

11:45 PM

"totally future proofed"

I will believe that when pigs fly

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Ian's 497 posts GB flag
Ian's: mapI's Freeview map terrainI's terrain plot wavesI's frequency data I's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Tuesday, 11 December 2012

12:23 AM

The problem with future proofing is that no one knows the future. Super HD seems to be arriving much quicker than predicted. 4k Tvs are available though very expensive (at the moment). I also see that holographic TV research is also progressing well.

It seems to me the biggest problem is the time it takes to build infrastructure. The Freeview network has just been completed but is already out of date. The DAB radio system is still not complete but is so obsolete.

Of course Sky has an advantage in that if they want to upgrade they just give everyone a new box.

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trevorjharris's 367 posts GB flag

11:55 AM

trevorjharris: You also can't future-proof when there is a new technlology in beta, which this time is HEVC - High Efficiency Video Coding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

Sky *have* some testing Sky tests 4K at The Emirates | News | Broadcast

"The broadcaster conducted its first significant 4K test using cameras from Sony and Canon at The Emirates during Arsenals Champions League tie with Olympiakos last week.

Sky director of operations Darren Long said: Were constantly working with manufacturers to test new products so that we have a good understanding of their capabilities once they become available.

Its too early for us to talk about whether or not 4K may form part of our future roadmap, but we are keen to learn more about its potential ahead of next-generation TV sets coming to market.

One implication for broadcasters would be the need to build and supply set-top boxes that are capable of receiving the compression scheme HEVC (Higher Efficiency Video Codec), which makes ultra-high-definition possible.

The Emirates tests paired two Sony F65 cameras in a picture stitching application alongside a Canon C500 4K camera.

Long said the pictures looked stunning but he wanted to see 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) images captured at higher frame rates.

The key to us is to ensure quality and when showing footballers running, it was clear that there was too much camera blur; we feel 120 frames a second is the right speed. Were liaising with standards bodies and working with manufacturers to understand the cameras capabilities and to improve the technology.

The entire infrastructure for live production would also have to be upgraded to support 4K, and outside broadcasters are already gearing up for this.

Brian Clark, commercial and technical projects director at NEP Visions, which facilitates Premier League productions for Sky Sports, said: 4K is very much on our radar.

Manufacturers are moving 4K forward and we speak to companies to see how the timescales could be accelerated.

In the next three years, I believe there will be live multi-camera acquisition.

Other broadcasters expressing interest in the format include Brazils TV Globo, France Tlvisions and Sky Deutschland.

Meanwhile, the BBC and NHK conducted tests of live 8K (Super Hi-Vision) transmissions during the London 2012 Olympics."

See also New MPEG format paves the way for UHDTV The Register

"If I had a personal guess it would be that with HEVC the 8K system with good transparency might come down to about 90Mbit/s and the 4K system to about 25 Mbit/s, but this is just an opinion. Also please don't forget that compression technology improves in cycles, and there may be a further cycle - the successor to HEVC - before the end of the decade that we can use for 8K UHDTV."

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag

12:18 PM

... also important is that concept of Scalable Video Coding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia !

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 12 December 2012

11:17 AM

new channel blue bird tv on channel 179,retune requird

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sharealam's 225 posts EU flag

7:20 PM

sharealam: Not to mention 790 Test Radio COM4

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Briantist's 38,910 posts GB flag
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