BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five agree approach for HD channels on Freeview
Joint statement from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five have today announced that they have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding that, if agreed, would deliver High Definition (HD) channels on Freeview by the projected completion of Digital Switchover in 2012.
Potentially from late-2009/2010, BBC HD (approved yesterday by the BBC Trust), ITV HD and Channel 4 HD could all be available on Freeview, with Five HD launching as soon afterwards as capacity is available and by 2012 at the latest, subject to the relevant regulatory agreements and conditional on the necessary Board approvals.
The agreement encompasses:
the use of new technologies, which will increase the capacity available on Freeview
a rearrangement of some of the channels carried on Freeview, in line with Ofcom's suggestion, setting aside one of the BBC's two multiplexes for the carriage of not only BBC HD but also ITV HD, Channel 4 HD and – as soon as technically possible – Five HD.
The agreement follows discussions with Ofcom and Government to launch the new services consumers want, in particular free-to-air High Definition.
A variation of the relevant BBC multiplex licence to carry HD services will be subject to approval from Ofcom.
The proposed agreement would also require approval by the BBC Trust.