When is Freeview HD coming? and much more.

UK consumers have had the privilege of getting over 30 free channels over the air as well as digital radio on their TVs. This uses the DVB-T standard and almost every new TV has a tuner (or more) built in. Now, we are also getting the courtesy of up to five channels broadcast in HD. Unfortanetly all these new TVs being shipped right now will come with incompatible tuners meaning once HD is enabled over freeview, you'll have to buy a new box.

Starting December 2nd on the Winter Hill transmitter, some of the UKs households will have access to HD TV over Freeview. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to get these HD broadcasts with any Freeview receiver. The new boxes are expected to be released in January 2010 with UK brand 'Pace' already demonstrating it's new unit. Freeview says the following on their website:

 "Viewers who want to watch the new channels will have to buy a new set-top box incorporating the superior MPEG-4 rather than MPEG-2 compression technology. MPEG-4 is twice as efficient as the MPEG-2 standard , while a new European transmission standard (DVB-T2) will increase capacity by 30%. These boxes are still being developed and discussions are taking place on when they will be available to buy in shops. "
The HD rollout is expected to be fully completed by the time all of the analogue transmitters are off in mid-2012.

Meanwhile, the BBC are trying a crafty move to encrypt their TV channel guide so that cheap Freeview box makers won't have access to their HD channel guides. Considering the tax-payer owns the BBC it is unlikely this will be taken lightly. The BBCs proposition has not yet been approved.

If you'd like HD channels now - FreeSat offers the same service as Freeview at a more expensive price of around £150. You will need a dish installed and you'll be able to receive a couple of HD channels immediately.


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