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The BBC will launch five more HD channels tomorrow

Auntie Beeb's Christmas presents arrive early
Mon Dec 09 2013, 10:53

THE BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION (BBC) has announced its Christmas gift to the nation with five more high definition (HD) channels.

The BBC will launch the channels tomorrow, 10 December. They are simulcasts of existing BBC services to complete the HD portion of the corporation's channel bouquet.

BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD, and Cbeebies HD join the existing BBC One HD and BBC Two HD channels.

The move comes just nine months after the BBC closed its showcase BBC HD channel, having decided that simulcast services are more cost effective than dedicated HD services.

Under the terms of the BBC charter, it is obliged to offer all services free of charge across all broadcasting modes. The move was made possible by the availability of additional terrestrial spectrum at 600Mhz that was freed by completion of the digital switchover and gifted to the corporation.

BBC director general Tony Hall said, "I am delighted that we're able to launch our new HD channels in time for Christmas, when families gather together to enjoy some of the best TV from the BBC. This year, people will be able to watch even more of our programmes in brilliant quality."

Although at launch, coverage in the 600Mhz band is not universal, it exceeds the 50 percent threshold that enables the BBC to launch services.

The BBC has predicted that by Wimbledon 2014, 70 percent of terrestrial customers will be able to receive the additional channels, along with all satellite and cable viewers.

It is thought that a further eight channels could fit into the 600Mhz spectrum, as HD channels use the DVB-T2 standard with more efficient MPEG-4 encoding, however there has not been any decision on how this will be used.

Placeholders for the added HD channels have started to appear ahead of tomorrow's launch. µ


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