Channel Five will not be available on Freeview HD before 2012

Channel 5

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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