Just as the dust has settled on the Freeview retune fiasco, you’d think that they would leave things as they are, but technology marches on and already viewers look set to retune or be forced to change their set-top boxes to accommodate the arrival of high-definition television.
The BBC alongside transmission company Arqiva set out plans to upgrade the UK’s digital television network to the new broadcast format DVB-T2.
While the new technology would increase capacity by 67 per cent, it would also mean that current set-top boxes would be outdated annd viewers would be forced to buy new devices and in some cases brand new televisions. The UK would be first in the world to broadcast using the untried format.
The upgrade is scheduled to start before Freeview HD transmissions in the country, which start from Winter Hill in the Granada TV region in December.
The new technology will roll-out with digital switchover at each transmitter, with most areas which have switched over already being upgraded before the end of 2010.
London will start Terrestrial HD by the end of this year with Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds/Bradford due to be on-air during spring 2010.
BBC distribution controller Alix Pryde said: “The BBC’s agreements with Arqiva to build the high definition infrastructure for DTT represent an important step forward that sets us on course for a successful launch in December this year. We look forward to confirming later this autumn our plans with Freeview for the consumer launch of HD services.”
BBC controller research & development Matthew Postgate added: “The BBC has a long and distinguished history in developing technologies for the benefit of the wider media industry and consumer, and the work of our R&D team is as important in the digital age as it ever has been.”
“The pioneering work of the team in creating the standard, in partnership with DVB, has been instrumental in bringing HD to terrestrial TV and will allow Freeview to build on its phenomenal success.”
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