Ofcom confirms its HD plans for the DTT network

The media regulator Ofcom has confirmed that its previously announced plans to re-organise the composition of the UK’s multiplexes, to make space for HD programmes, will go ahead.
The re-organisation will allow up to four HD channels to be made available in a single multiplex.
In order to make this possible both MPEG-4, H.264 Audio visual Coding and the new DVB-T2 specification will be employed.
Even though the DVB-T2 specification is still to be completed it is expected to provide another 30% capacity (the design target) which together with H.264 coding will allow enough space for the new HDTV channels.
Ofcom proposes to re-arrange the three of the six UK multiplexes, which are already used for public service broadcasting.
Multiplex B, which is currently licensed to BBC Free to View Ltd., will be cleared for the new HD service and its current channels re-assigned to spare capacity in other multiplexes.
Once completed Multiplex B will be upgraded for the new HDTV services. Three slots will then be made available and a further fourth HDTV slot in 2012.
Viewers in some parts of the country could be receiving HDTV signals at the end of 2009, according to Ofcom.
The rest of the UK will get the new services on a region-by-region basis as the progressive digital switchover is made. This process will be completed by the end of 2012.
One of the new HDTV slots will be assigned to the BBC trust but the other three will be awarded to commercial public service broadcasters through a competitive bidding process.
Source: Ofcom
Item added: 8th April 2008