Freeview Goes HD, Service To Start In Jan

Freeview, a collection of free to air digital TV service based on the Digital Terrestrial Television platform has rolled out the Freeview HD, Britain’s first digital TV service that transmits HD channels offered by BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

Freeview HD, the world’s first TV service to use DVB-T2 standard, will be available for the public from spring 2010. The service was switched on at Crystal Palace and the transmitters which will cover 25-30 percent of the UK’s population. The current launch is a technical one while the consumer launch will be sometime in the first quarter of next year.

To receive the HD channels, consumers will have to buy a new set-top box which will appear in some stores around January or February next year. Managing Director of Freeview, Ilse Howling predicted that 40 per cent of the population will be covered by March while figures are expected to rise up to 50 percent at the time of the world cup.

The station at Winter Hill is the first to transmit Freeview HD and residents of Manchester and Liverpool who have Freeview will be able to catch the Freeview HD signal. However, the Freeview set top box will decode the HD waves to SD (Standard Definition).