Ofcom confirms new HD slot for Freeview digital terrestrial TV

Channel 5

Freeview HD viewers could get an extra high-definition channel next year following Ofcom's announcement this morning that it's inviting applications for an extra HD slot on digital terrestrial TV (DTT).

The decision means a fifth HD channel on Freeview could join BBC HD, BBC One HD, ITV1 HD and 4HD. The new channel is expected to go on air by April 1st 2012.

Industry regulator Ofcom says it has been possible to create the extra capacity needed for an additional HD channel by "reorganising existing TV services and introducing two new technologies – MPEG-4 and DVB-T2".

The problem until now has been that the available spectrum is a finite resource, and high definition is spectrum hungry, demanding roughly four times as much as standard-definition broadcasts.

Ofcom is inviting applications to run the new channel from commercial public service broadcasters, with Channel 5 – among others – expected to bid. The closing date for applications is October 17th, 2011.

Last year the original slot reserved for Channel 5 HD reverted to the BBC after C5 failed to give media regulator Ofcom a launch date or programming schedule for the proposed HD channel

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.