Official documents issued in the past few days have confirmed UTV HD's appearance on Freeview HD following the conclusion of digital switchover, but until now there had been no information on when the channel would go live on satellite.
UTV HD will appear on Freeview HD channel 103 from Wednesday 24th October. It will become available at each transmitter across Northern Ireland between midnight and early afternoon as the Freeview HD multiplex is rolled out site-by-site upon conclusion of the digital switchover in the province.
In a press release, Michael Wilson - MD of UTV said:
"HD pictures will also add a new dimension to our outstanding coverage of news and current affairs in Northern Ireland and reinforce our reputation for quality journalism as market leader."
He confirmed that a new agreement had been signed with ITV, which "will ensure that UTV HD is introduced on the Sky platform and Freesat in the first quarter of 2013."
It is expected that STV HD (currently on air, but hiding on digital satellite) will also join Sky and Freesat's EPG at around the same time. The delay has already disappointed some viewers, who have been eagerly awaiting a chance to easily watch ITV programming via UTV in HD in Northern Ireland via satellite. ITV1 HD can be added through the tuning menus on Sky and Freesat receivers. In contrast, BBC One will launch an HD version of BBC One Northern Ireland on Freeview HD, Freesat HD and Sky HD next week.
UTV will celebrate the advent of the digital switchover this Tuesday evening from 10:35, with a special simulcast programme called "The Magic Box", which will also air on BBC One Northern Ireland.