Highly theoretical and you'd need a new box, naturally.
The big attraction of Freeview is obviously that it ”is” (receiver apart) free, but providers know that is unlikely to be enough as the High Definition buzz starts to filter through the mainstream.
To counter this, Crave has discovered the BBC has come up with technology which can double the bandwidth of Freeview to create enough space to transmit all those fat HD signals. Boiling the tech down to a burnt residue, this will essentially be achieved by creating ‘spatially multiplexed’ signals: this means passing two bitstreams on a single frequency by sending them down at different times.
The catch is any receiver would need to be able to tell which bitstream is which to decode them at the user’s end and this will require a new box with MIMO (Multiple-input, Multiple output) functionality. MIMO – if you remember – is a feature used in later wireless g routers and laptops to boast data transfer speeds and ranges by throwing out multiple signals.
Thankfully a small scale test has already been conducted by the Beeb to test out all this theory and it found that is does indeed work (or at least double the available bandwidth in any case). The next step(s) are likely to be wider testing and putting some HD signals down it.
In sum, the finished article sounds a few years away, but if you hate Rupert Murdock and all that he stands for (which is reasonable) it does appear there will be an HD alternative…