Technology

BBC sets timetable for HD rollout on Freeview

MUMBAI: BBC has confirmed the timetable that will make HD services on Freeview available to 50 per cent of the population in time for next June’s World Cup, and to 98.5 per cent of the population by the end of digital switchover in three years’ time.


In order to bring the benefits of HD on Freeview to as many people as quickly as possible, the Freeview HD rollout has been accelerated with an advance network so that viewers in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Bradford and Birmingham receive signals by the end of March 2010.
 
The majority of viewers will come into coverage at the same time that they go through digital switchover – including viewers in Manchester in December 2009 and those in Cardiff, who will get Freeview HD by the end of March 2010. For the seven per cent of the UK population who switched before December 2009, a retrofit programme will bring them into coverage before the end of November 2010.


New DVB-T2 technology will deliver an increase in capacity of 67 per cent to the BBC’s Multiplex B, efficiently creating the space needed for UK public service broadcasters’ HD transmissions. The UK will be the first country in the world to launch this new standard, and its successful implementation is the result of pioneering work by the BBC in collaboration with partners including Ofcom, Arqiva, Siemens and receiver manufacturers.


To view Freeview HD, audiences will need equipment containing this new technology. Freeview HD receivers (set-top boxes, digital television recorders and integrated televisions) will be available from early 2010.


From January 2010, viewers will be able to use the Freeview website to find out when HD services will be available at their postcode. The BBC is also working closely with Digital UK to ensure that information about Freeview HD is made available as part of digital switchover communications. 
 
BBC COO Caroline Thomson says, "This is a terrific step forward, and it’s a great achievement that the BBC and its partners have been able to work together to overcome some really difficult technical challenges to bring HD to the Freeview platform through world-leading innovation. We’re really excited about the prospect of seeing BBC HD and HD channels from the other public service broadcasters on Freeview next year"


Freeview MD Ilse Howling says, "This is great news for the millions of Freeview homes and viewers who are looking forward to getting high definition with no subscription next year."
 

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