(ed : just got a call from a Ofcom spokesperson who told us that Channel 4 IS going ahead with the launch of a HD Channel on Freeview HD. We apologise to Channel 4 for getting our facts wrong)
Channel Five has failed to convince the telecommunications watchdog, Ofcom, of its ability to fulfill a number of key criteria originally set out and be part of Freeview HD this year.
Ofcom has handed the free slot to the BBC which already have a high definition channel on Freeview HD.
It is not known what content the corporation will bring in although it must make sure that there is enough content to fill the daytime windows (ed: possibly means seeing reruns in HD).
Five failed on this particular ground while Channel 4 failed to provide with launch dates.
Ofcom confirmed that it "has therefore decided not to reserve capacity for either of the applicants at this time. Any capacity within Multiplex B that is not reserved by Ofcom is available for the BBC to use."
The first Freeview HD tuners have already gone on sale but the lack of mainstream terrestrial channels could kill the platform even before it has a chance to succeed.
Sky is aiming to get at least 50 HD channels by the end of the year and with the likes of SyFy and ITV 1 having already signed for the service, 2010 will prove to be the year of HD broadcasting across Britain.