Channel Five will not be available on Freeview HD before 2012

15 Mar 2010

Channel 5
No Channel 5 on Freeview HD

The launch of Freeview HD suffered a setback today with the news that there'll be no Channel 5 high-definition TV service on Freeview HD before 2012.

Channel Five has failed to give media regulator Ofcom a launch date or programming schedule for the proposed HD channel, despite being granted a licence for it last June.

Intriguingly, the BBC, which already has an HD channel on Freeview, may step in to provide another HD service, according to the MediaGuardian.

Ofcom, which last June reserved a slot on Freeview for an HD service for Channel Five, said today that it would no longer reserve capacity on the service for the broadcaster, which made a loss last year.

Five was unable "to resolve certain key criteria by the end of 2009" demanded by Ofcom, including committing to a launch date for a high-definition channel and providing a schedule.

The broadcaster had intended to run a selection of its own programming in HD each evening and shows from other suppliers during the day.

Although Channel 4 and S4C expressed interest in taking over the vacant HD slot, Ofcom says they have not submitted a viable plan. So the right to use the unreserved capacity now reverts to the BBC, which runs the Freeview multiplex the HD channels are being broadcast on.

"The BBC will now consider options to ensure the capacity can be used to provide high-definition services that will further benefit viewers of digital terrestrial television," says Ofcom.

However, Ofcom does say that it will give commercial broadcasters another opportunity to provide an additional HD service by 2012.

What would you like to see on the spare channel on Freeview HD? Let us know in the Comments box below.

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Agree with Mr Orange in part, high bit rate SD looks great down here in Oz.  What a falacy more channels, more choice is if the content and quality is so poor.  But HD is significantly better and you will notice, especially when you see how much bigger the files are on your HDD recorder.

A far better idea would be to get rid of all the junk channels on Freeview, increase the bit rates of the decent channels to their maximum and then we wouldn't need HD on Freeview at all since vast majority of people would not be able to tell the difference between high bit rate SD and HD anyway.

This is just the Labour government looking for more ways to make more money it can waste.

Film Four HD or E4 HD get's my vote.

Would hate to see another HD service from BBC,before they get their current service in order. Yes it has some good programmes, but it offers a limited service with endless repeats.