SATELLITE UPDATE ITV's free-to-air HD regional channels look set to be switching to the Astra 2F satellite soon. Test transmissions on the satellite have been observed in recent weeks.
The move will mean that some viewers outside of the British Isles will lose access to ITV HD shortly. Astra 2F has a much tighter spot beam on the UK and Ireland than Astra 1N, currently the home of most of ITV's regional variations.
The changes look set to tidy up ITV's presence on satellite, utilising the more efficient DVB-S2 broadcast standard for all of its HD services.
Sky and Freesat viewers within the British Isles are not expected to be directly affected, with services continuing to be broadcast from the same orbital position, and do not need take any action at this stage.
At present, there are no known plans to launch additional regional variations of ITV HD. Instead the current "macro regions" of ITV London, ITV Granada (for the Granada, Yorkshire, Tyne Tees and Border regions), ITV Meridian SE (for Meridian and Anglia regions) and ITV Central West (for Central, Wales, West and Westcountry regions) look set to reside on Astra 2F, frequency 11097, vertical polarisation, where the regional variants are currently being duplicated.
The current HD structure of ITV is based on macro advertising regions, where advertisers can book spots covering multiple ITV regions. ITV Granada HD, for instance, includes advertising spots destined for all of Northern England, which also appear on the more regionalised standard definition service, although Granada HD will also include advertising spots just for North West England. Through the macro region system, all parts of England and Wales are covered by the current four ITV HD channels for advertising purposes, if not for regional news.
STV HD and UTV HD are also expected to move soon. STV HD will make its official debut on Sky and Freesat in April.
ITV has as yet not made any statement about any changes to its satellite services.