ITV has kicked off test transmissions of its latest HD simulcast of ITV1, in an attempt to keep up with its previous announcement to launch the ITV1 HD on Freeview by the time 2010 World Cup starts around next year.
The company has penned a deal with the BBC that will enable it to take some bandwidth to bring its new HD channel on Freeview, paving the way to let ITV viewers enjoy the upcoming World Cup in HD.
The new ITV1 HD service will be made available in Manchester in December, followed by Newcastle, Glasgow, London, Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds. However, Freeview has announced it is confident that the HD service will be available to half of the UK households by the time World Cup rolls around June next year.
A more comprehensive plan for the roll out will be introduced sometime around next month, and a BBC Freeview service is also expected to make its debut by the end of this year. Both the channels already provide HD content via Freesat, and the BBC will start broadcasting World Athletics Championship in HD from this weekend.
However, making the necessary hardware available for this massive roll out is a big concern, as people may unlikely to spend for new set-top boxes, particularly in this time of recession.