Viewers in London and Manchester will be able to watch Freeview in glorious high definition from this December, according to the BBC.
The broadcaster set out a timetable for the terrestrial HD roll-out that will see these cities receiving HD broadcasts from December 2 of this year. Other cities and regions will follow suit starting in 2010.
BBC hopes that more than 50 per cent of the population will be able to receive pictures in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. To tune into Freeview HD, users will require a new set-top box to get the new snazzier pictures as the broadcast depend on a new transmission standard callled DVB-T2 which will increase capacity by 67 per cent for the multiplex it uses.
“This is a terrific step forward, and it’s a great achievement that the BBC and its partners have been able to work together to overcome some really difficult technical challenges to bring HD to the Freeview platform through world-leading innovation,” said BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thomson.
“We’re really excited about the prospect of seeing BBC HD and HD channels from the other public service broadcasters on Freeview next year.”
DTG director general Richard Lindsay-Davies added: “This is a landmark moment in UK broadcasting history. The launch of Freeview HD consolidates the UK’s position as a global leader in the deployment of digital television services.
“While this is a fantastic technical achievement, the success of any service is defined by the consumer experience. The World Cup in 2010 will be a key driver for Freeview HD takeup and broadcasters, platform operators and the consumer electronics industry have worked hard to ensure that it can be enjoyed in high definition on the Freeview platform.”
Here is the full scheduled roll-out.
Manchester Winter Hill – December 2, 2009
London Crystal Palace (advance network) – December 2, 2009
Newcastle and Tyneside Pontop Pike (advance network) – February 2010
Leeds / Bradford Emley Moor (advance network) – March 2010
Birmingham Lichfield (advance network) – March 2010
Liverpool, central Lancashire, Cheshire, north Staffordshire Winter Hill relays (retrofit) – March 2010
Exeter, parts of Devon, Somerset, Dorset Stockland Hill (retrofit) – April 2010
Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire Mendip – April 2010
Devon, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly Beacon Hill, Caradon Hill, Huntshaw Cross and Redruth (retrofit) – August 2010
Cumbria and the Lake District Caldbeck (retrofit) – October 2010
Following this schedule, Freeview HD will then be implemented in line with the rest of the switchover programme:
2011 – Bedfordshire, Berkshire (parts), Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire,
East Anglia, East Midlands, East Yorkshire, Gloucestershire,
Herefordshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire,
Shropshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire (parts), Stoke-on-Trent, West
Midlands (remainder), and West Yorkshire (remainder).
2012 – Berkshire (remainder), County Durham, Greater London (remainder),
Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Surrey,
Sussex, Teesside, Tyneside.
Cardiff, Newport Wenvoe – March 2010
Swansea Kilvey Hill March (retrofit) – 2010
West and central Wales Blaenplwyf – March 2010
Carmarthenshire Carmel (retrofit) – April 2010
rest of Wales Long Mountain, Moel y Parc, Presely Mid (retrofit) – June 2010
Anglesey Llanddona (retrofit) – July 2010
Glasgow, central Scotland Black Hill (advance network) – February 2010
Shetland Bressay – May 2010
Orkney Keelylang Hill – May 2010
Caithness, North Sutherland Rumster Forest – June 2010
Lewis, Wester Ross, North West Sutherland, Western Isles Eitshal Skriaig – July 2010
Angus, Dundee, Perth, and parts of Fife Angus – August 2010
Aberdeenshire Durris – September 2010
Morayshire, Strathspey, and parts of Easter Ross Knockmore – October 2010
South West Scotland Caldbeck Scotland – October 2010
Inverness and the Great Glen Rosemarkie – October 2010
South West Highlands and Islands Torosay – October 2010
Scottish Borders Selkirk (retrofit) – November 2010 retrofit
Following this schedule, Freeview HD rolls out in line with the rest of the switchover programme until the whole of Scotland can receive the service by the end of Q2, 2011.
Freeview HD will rollout in line with the rest of the switchover programme so that the whole of Northern Ireland can receive the service by the end of 2012.
Isle of Man Douglas (retrofit) – October 2010
Channel Islands Fremont Point – end 2010