Could HD-only channels get a move up the EPG on Freeview?
Entertainment and news channels that are HD-only on Freeview - currently only QVC+1 HD - would be assigned a channel number in the relevant genre instead of being inserted within the current HD zone of the EPG (channels 101-119). Digital UK says it could move QVC+1 HD to channel 75, which is the highest ranking available channel number in the EPG at the time of the consultation launch. Digital UK indicates that it expects further HD-only channels to launch on Freeview in the future, given current spare capacity on the COM8 digital multiplex.
Channel operators are being invited to have their say on the issue by 22nd January 2016.
Adult and children's channels have separate rules, and any HD-only adult or children's channels that might occur would be assigned a channel number within the current adult or children's sections of the Freeview EPG, alongside current HD simulcasts, as currently takes place in the children's section.
Channels that operate an HD simulcast, such as BBC One HD or ITV HD are not involved in this consultation. Most of the major channels don't offer the same level of regionality on HD as they do on SD, although this will be changing in the coming years. There's also the technical issue of how different HD receivers would deal with an SD/HD swap - the technical complexity of the issue is why Digital UK isn't making any recommendations to remove the current arrangement for these channels just yet.
However that's likely to change in around three years or so, when changes start to be made to the Freeview platform that are likely to see a move to more HD and usage of the DVB-T2 broadcast standard across more multiplexes.