Ofcom to outline HD plan for Freeview

Following recent Ofcom conference and press announcements it has now confirmed that it will publish proposals next month outlining a “migration path” for the entire Freeview offering, to be available in HD from as early as late 2009.
Delivering Ofcom’s annual lecture in Westminster, the regulator’s chief executive, Ed Richards, said plans to use compression technologies to double capacity for HD without the cost of investing in a new multiplex would, if possible, be a “major prize” in paving the way for HD broadcasting.
HD broadcasts would be supported by the new DVB-T2 standard currently under development by the DVB Project with content compressed using the latest MPEG-4, H.264, AVC standard.
Provision of the service would be free, in line with Freeview’s established ethos, he said. “We see it as a wonderful stand-alone opportunity to free the system already in use.”
Until the proposals were published, he was reluctant to say if the plans would cover only the five terrestrial broadcasters, but he indicated that it was likely that consumers would have to upgrade to new set-top boxes. This would also mean that all those who bought HD-ready integrated Free-view TV’s would also have to buy an additional STB to receive HDTV.
The OFCOM proposa,l to fit HDTV within the existing multiplex allocations, would make it possible for the UK government to continue auctioning off the broadcast spectrum released at analogue switch off.
Main source: broadcastnow.co.uk
Item added: 23rd October 2007