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Additional ITV regions get ready to broadcast in HD

ITV has begun testing further regions in high definition via satellite ahead of an expected roll-out later in the year.

Test streams of ITV Yorkshire and Tyne Tees in HD are now live, bringing the current total of ITV regions testing in HD on satellite to three, following the earlier addition of ITV Anglia HD.

These test streams can be manually tuned in on satellite receivers, but for the time being viewers will continue to see the current pan-regional HD service on Sky and Freesat and all other TV platforms.

However, the latest developments do indicate that viewers in the affected regions will soon be able to receive regional news programming and adverts that are more relevant to their area on ITV HD. At the present time, England is served by one of four ITV regions in HD: Central (West Midlands), Granada, London and Meridian (South East), meaning viewers outside of these areas are allocated one of these regions in HD instead of their own region. The current regional HD structure is based on ITV's 'macro regional' advertising sales structure, which allows advertisers to buy airtime on clusters of ITV regions.

Since last August, ITV Wales is available in HD. In Scotland, viewers in the Borders currently receive ITV Granada in HD, elsewhere the Glasgow version of the STV Central region is carried on digital TV platforms. In Northern Ireland, UTV HD, now under the ownership of ITV plc, is available.

ITV Yorkshire HD's test stream is a simulcast of the version of the channel serving the west of the Yorkshire TV region, broadcast terrestrially from the Emley Moor transmitter. ITV Anglia HD's test is a simulcast of the Anglia East sub-region, serving most of Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex.

Despite the new test streams, it's unlikely that all Channel 3 regions will appear in high definition on satellite, with the smaller sub-regions likely to remain standard definition only.

In recent months, ITV has been preparing for the arrival of HD in the regions with new infrastructure and equipment to cater for high definition broadcasts. ITV Central, an existing HD region, went live with regional news in HD toward the end of last year.

ITV has not yet stated when the new HD regions will officially become available to viewers; previous test periods have lasted a lengthy amount of time.


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