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Satellite Update: C5 HD test, frantic dash to transfer RTÉ services

SATELLITE UPDATE | The last traces of Channel 5's regional streams on satellite have been removed and replaced by an active HD stream, now testing.

There's intense speculation, though not confirmed or denied by Channel 5, that its HD service will move there, in a transfer that would see Channel 5 HD move from Sky capacity to Channel 5's own capacity. Channel 5's transponder space was originally filled by regional duplicates of Channel 5's standard definition service, which only differed during ad breaks. The capacity cleared is exactly enough for one HD channel.

The HD stream, containing colour bars went live at 11:19 GMT and is found on Astra 2F 10964 H, Symbol Rate 22000 FEC 5/6, label 7750. Although this test is currently encrypted, a move for Channel 5 HD to Channel 5's own satellite capacity means owner Viacom will have greater flexibility over how it transmits the service in the future, either as part of Sky's subscription service or free-to-air, although all HD services from UK public service broadcasters are liable to be forced to be free in coming years - legislation currently only stipulates standard definition services. Incidentally, sister channel Spike was encrypted during testing before going free-to-air on launch day.

Meanwhile, frantic work to beat Sky's seasonal platform freeze is taking place regarding Irish TV and radio services from RTÉ and TG4 on the Astra2 satellite system.

Last week, a service update to subscribers was issued by a Sky representative initially confirming that RTÉ would be changing on the 10th December. As previously reported, this was delayed. A further update was issued late on Friday 11th, citing today, 14th December as the new expected transfer date. Earlier on, RTÉ2 HD was added to a new transponder: its new home is 11758 H, symbol rate: 29500, FEC:3/4 DVB-S2,

By late afternoon, RTÉ One HD and RTÉ One+1 finally made it on to the Sky EPG in the Irish Republic.

Additionally, existing Irish TV services are migrating to a new frequency, something that hasn't yet completed: RTÉ News Now and RTÉ Jr are currently testing on 12266 H in preparation for their launch on Sky, also the frequency that TG4 SD is moving to.

Changes need to be completed by the 16th December, when Sky freezes its platform for Christmas and the New Year. Until early January 2016, no channels can be added or removed from the platform, neither can services change channel numbers. So the clock is ticking... 


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