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Freeview HD channels to stay in the ghetto for another year

Freeview HD channels are to stay confined to the HD genre section of the programme guide for the time being. 

Digital UK, the group responsible for managing the Freeview channel guide, has ruled that there aren’t yet enough HD channels on Freeview to necessitate moving channels like BBC One HD and Channel 4 HD further up the programme guide. 

In May, Digital UK launched a consultation proposing to move HD channels of PSB broadcasters further up the programme guide, effectively swapping places with their standard definition counterparts. 

Freeview HD channels to stay in the ghetto for another year
Digital UK ruled that there wasn’t enough Freeview HD channels to warrant punting them further up the guide

In response to the consultation, the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 were all strongly in favour of moving their HD channels further up the guide while Sky, QVC and Al Jazeera were opposed to the move, arguing that PSB channels already benefitted from high prominence in the Freeview programme guide. 

Digital UK said: “Given that many viewers would currently derive limited benefit from HD 
substitution, and in order to support the establishment of HD on the platform we see a 
benefit in continuing to aggregate HD channels together within the HD genre for the present. 

“Our belief is that this approach may aid discoverability of HD content as [Freeview’s] HD 
offering expands.” 

The BBC has unveiled plans to launch five new HD channels and Freeview boss Isle Howling has spoken of plans for 10 Freeview HD channels to launch next year. 

Right now HD channels on Freeview include BBC One HD and BBC Two HD, ITV in most regions of England, STV HD in Scotland and UTV in Northern Ireland. 

As well as launching five new HD channels, the BBC also wants to introduce regional variations of BBC One HD and BBC Two for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

Digital UK says that it will launch a further review in late 2014 or early 2015, once more HD channels are live

Image: Docklandsboy/Flickr

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