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31/03/2010

BBC To Add HD On Freeview

There's to be a BBC high definition channel launch on Freeview by the end of 2010.
Following the delay to Five HD, the BBC said this week that "expects and hopes" to see its move before the end of the year.
Earlier in the month, Ofcom confirmed that Five HD will not launch on Freeview as planned this year, with the available capacity reverting to the BBC.
Freeview is aiming to take high definition television "to the mass market", offering four HD channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and, in Wales, S4C, from this week.
Backed up by a £6m launch campaign, Freeview HD will air hit shows such as Britain's Got Talent, Doctor Who, The Apprentice and Peepshow, along with games from the forthcoming football World Cup.
However, only about half the UK will be able to receive the service when it starts, although Freeview hopes that will rise to 60% by the end of the year.
BBC HD, ITV1HD and Channel 4's service, 4HD, will be available in London, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and central Scotland. S4C will launch its HD channel, Clirlun, in Wales on 30 Apri
Speaking at a Freeview HD launch event, BBC Chief Operating Officer Caroline Thomson said that the corporation is "exploring options" with Ofcom on how best to use the capacity.
Ms Thomson said that the additional HD network "might not be a BBC channel", but added that she is unable to give any further information due to "regulatory restrictions". She did say, though, that more details on the proposed channel will "follow later in the year".
The BBC could now seek to launch a sister channel to BBC HD or partner with another broadcaster to create a wholly new offering.
However, it is unlikely that the Film4 HD channel, which is coming soon to Virgin Media, will arrive on Freeview HD after Ofcom recently dismissed a joint Channel 4 and S4C application for the available capacity.
Five HD will now most likely arrive on Freeview HD after the digital switchover completes in 2012, although the channel is due to launch on Sky in July.
(BMcC/GK)
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