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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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Comments
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
G
Grahamsew
5:02 PM

Can anyone advise if the Malvern transmitter is actually transmitting HD channels on ch 60 - neither of my my freeview HD boxes are not picking any up (they have been retuned since DSO last night).

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Grahamsew's 7 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

6:49 PM

Grahamsew: Yes, Freeview HD is being transmitted. You will need a DVB-T2 receiver to watch the services, see What does "Full HD Ready" actually mean? | ukfree.tv - independent free digital TV advice .

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Thursday, 22 September 2011
G
Grahamsew
3:27 PM

Briantist
I'm using a panasonic freeview + HD box (panasonic have confirmed that this should receive HD) and still can't see any HD channels . There's a full strength signal present on ch 60 but no HD programmes found (all other freeview programmes are fine). I also have a dvb T2 card in the pc and it can't find them either.

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Grahamsew's 7 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

3:38 PM

Grahamsew: Can you please provide a full postcode?

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
G
Grahamsew
3:43 PM

Briantist
Just retuned for the umpteenth time and low & behold they have appeared. Thanks for your help . I just needed to be a bit more patient I suppose!

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Grahamsew's 7 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

3:48 PM

Grahamsew: Ah right, I'm glad you have them now.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Saturday, 24 September 2011
Liz Falconer
7:53 PM

I have an Humax HDR Fox T2 which I got a few weeks ago.
I have been getting all four HD channels with no problems until about a week ago when STV HD developed a lip sync problem.
This 'disappeared' but has been replaced by a very annoying 'flickering' which is hard to describe but is almost like when you see someone taking a photo on telly using flash. It can happen every couple of minutes and is so distracting I can't watch it!
My signal quality is 100% and signal strength about 80%.
I can't understand why this is the only HD channel affected?

My transmitter is Rumster Forest.

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Liz Falconer's 13 posts GB
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

8:35 PM

Liz Falconer: I think this has been answered to you elsewhere.

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
Monday, 24 October 2011
M
Mike Dimmick
sentiment_very_satisfiedPlatinum

12:49 AM

Channel 5 have definitely applied. For some inexplicable reason Ofcom's web team have put the application under the Third Invitation to Apply section, rather than creating a top-level Applications Received (Third ITA) section as for the previous two openings.

Ofcom | Third Statutory Notice of Invitation to Apply for DTT Multiplex B Capacity

As expected this is a simulcast of Channel 5 in HD.

link to this comment
Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB
Briantist
sentiment_very_satisfiedOwner

8:30 AM

Mike Dimmick: And, given that the closing date was 5pm on 17 October 2011, I suppose the outcome is clear...

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Briantist's 38,844 posts GB
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