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HD is the new SD: Freeview TVs to be high def as standard from 2017

From the end of 2016 onwards, only HD compliant hardware will be able to carry the ‘Freeview’ brand. 

Freeview, along with Digital UK and the DTG have worked with TV makers to encourage the take-up of HD content and finally shove off old-school standard definition which, a little confusingly, makes HD the new SD.

This is not to say that SD channels will be disappearing from the airwaves in the next couple of years – Freeview programme guides would look pretty quiet if that was the case.

This is more about boosting sales of HD products in the face of more and more 4K TVs and services, like Netflix, Amazon and BT Sport Ultra HD, hitting the market.

Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO of the DTG, said: “The industry has given unanimous support, through its collaboration in the DTG, to Freeview’s move to ensure all their viewers enjoy the rich experience of high definition TV with the reliable experience to which they have become accustomed from world’s greatest industry-defined and open digital TV platform.”

Since Freeview launched in 2002, more than 100 million units have been sold. It remains the most ubiquitous subscription-free digital TV service in the UK, present in over 11 million homes.

Last year, over 70 per cent of new Freeview TVs and set-top boxes sold were HD products, suggesting that the market was already heading in this direction. Freeview, with the help of the industry, wants to give SD-only gear a final nudge over the precipice of history.

Guy North, managing director of Freeview, added: “Freeview HD gives consumers the best possible picture quality without a subscription.

“By moving all Freeview products to HD, we are ensuring that our viewers get the full range of channels available to them on the platform and the best possible quality. The company has been working closely with manufacturers, retailers, government and other industry stakeholders to future-proof the platform.”

Next month sees the launch of Freeview Play, the next generation of Freeview. As well as delivering Full HD linear TV channels, buyers will also be able to tap into a sub-menu of on-demand players including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player ITV Hub, 4oD All 4 and Demand 5. 

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