Terrestrial broadcasters, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Five, have entered into a non-binding agreement to roll-out high-definition programming on Freeview before the completion of the digital switchover in 2012.
The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 hope to have HD channels in place by late 2009 or early 2010, and Five HD will be provided when capacity is available.
The agreement covers the development of new technologies to increase available capacity on Freeview, and a rearrangement of some of the existing Freeview channels, with one of the BBC’s two Freeview multiplexes needing to be set aside.
The agreement marks a change of viewpoint for the operators, which have been lobbying Ofcom to set aside spectrum capacity for HD channels rather than auctioning it off as planned.
The broadcasters were concerned that there would be insufficient capacity on Freeview for HD channels.
The HD agreement, which is subject to approval by the BBC Trust, and Ofcom, precedes an announcement by Ofcom into the future of digital terrestrial television