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BBC: extra Freeview HD Olympics channel

The BBC is launching an extra high definition TV channel for the Olympics on Freeview HD to include some of the extra HD coverage going to Freesat, Sky and Virgin viewers.

The special channel will use capacity on Freeview HD going spare after Channel 5 decided not to join the free high definition TV service last year.

It will simulcast in HD the BBC’s main Red Button service on Freeview, also available on channel 301.

The temporary Olympic HD channel will be available via the Red Button on BBC One HD and BBC HD, and on Freeview channel 304.

Roger Mosey, the BBC’s director of London 2012, said: “Capacity limitations mean we would be unable to deliver 24 streams to Freeview audiences through their TVs, but this extra service will bring the number of high definition services available on Freeview HD over the Olympic Games period to three.

“It’s worth noting that the Freeview red button service will be picking the best of the action from the sports not being covered on BBC One and BBC Three, so we’ll deliver more top-quality Olympic action from a range of venues in subscription-free HD.”

Viewers on Freesat HD, Sky HD and Virgin Media will be able to watch an extra 24 channels of HD Olympic coverage via the Red Button during the games.

The BBC is currently looking for either a public-service or commercial broadcaster to take over the capacity of the fifth Freeview HD channel, in the hope that it will go live by the end of 2012.

Channel 5 HD is currently only available on Sky HD.

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