The BBC has this morning confirmed that it is going to launch five new HD channels and is planning to offer English regional variants of BBC One HD.
By early 2014, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, CBeebies and BBC News will all be distributed in HD on Freeview and satellite and will be made available to other platform operators, including cable companies.
On Freeview and YouView, BBC Three HD and CBBC HD will use the fifth slot on the existing Freeview HD multiplex, which is currently being used for Red Button HD. The multiplex has over 98% population coverage. The other new BBC HD channels will use capacity on new multiplexes launching next year, using currently unused frequencies cleared at digital switchover. However, these additional multiplexes will only be available across around 2/3rds of the country. The move is a departure from its original strategy: in November it was revealed the BBC was planning one extra HD simulcast channel, plus Red Button HD.
Where are the extra Freeview HD channels going to be available? >
Via satellite, the BBC aims to cover 99% of the population with all of its HD channels. The BBC has additional capacity on its two satellite transponders assigned to HD TV for the new channels. The services are to be offered to all platforms which carry HD services, but inclusion on Sky is likely to be dependent of a commercial agreement being reached with the pay TV company, with an ongoing debate on how much Sky charges public service broadcasters over and beyond standard EPG inclusion fees.
Additionally, the BBC will present technical options and a timetable to the BBC Trust in the next six months with regards rolling out English regional variants of BBC One HD.
Where has the BBC found space for additional HD channels? >
first published 10:41