Not arriving until 'late 2010' but better then than never.
Ofcom has announced that Channel 5 will be brining an HD channel to digital terrestrial television – aka HD Freeview – late next year. Channel 5 will be the last of four HD DTT providers, broadcasting alongside the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and S4C.
Channel 5 was bidding against a joint pitch from Channel 4 and S4C for the final slot, but Ofcom “decided that the application from Channel 5 fulfilled the various criteria more fully than the application from Channel 4 and S4C.” Channel 5 will be ‘simulcasting’ its peak time programmes, such as The Gadget Show, UEFA Europa League football and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in addition to “blockbuster movie premiers.”
Ofcoms announcement also mentions that Channel 5 will likely share its HD space with another provider during daytime hours to bolster the amount of content available in high definition. Other services, such as HD video on demand are also likely to be made available which would be pretty neat.
Ofcom says the first three HD Freeview channels will become available from late this year in Granada, the first region to see an update to HD Freeview. The rest of the country will see those services available as the UK digital switchover process continues, finishing in 2012. In some parts of England, therefore, Channel 5 will almost certainly be available by the time HD Freeview is.
We can only hope Sky and especially Freesat are able to grab a slice of Five’s HD pie, too.