Arqiva has secured a satellite distribution deal for Channel 4 HD. The new arrangement facilitates transmission of Channel 4 HD for the first time on Freesat (from April 2011) while maintaining the channel's presence on the Sky platform. Arqiva provides encoding, teleport services and satellite capacity to enable Channel 4 HD to be uplinked simultaneously to both platforms via one transponder.

The service, which began on the 18th February 2011, takes advantage of Arqiva’s technologically advanced DVB-S2 MPEG-4 encoding platform on Eurobird EB1. This enables Channel 4 to more efficiently deliver the high quality HD signal. Arqiva has also installed the necessary compression equipment at Channel 4’s Playout Centre and is providing the necessary Sky adaptation and Freesat EPG insertion.

Barrie Woolston, Commercial Sales Director at Arqiva Broadcast & Media, said: “Arqiva provides Channel 4 with all its multiplexing systems and its terrestrial broadcast transmitter network, and this agreement means we now also provide Channel 4 HD’s satellite distribution. We launched our state-of-the-art DVB-S2 MPEG-4 platform on EB1 to meet the growing demands for high definition channel distribution. The exceptional efficiencies and superb UK coverage it offers makes this the ideal platform for a major national broadcaster like Channel 4.”

Channel 4 HD was launched on Sky+ HD in 2007, Virgin Media in 2009, and Freeview in 2010. The channel carries the same programming as the Channel 4 SD service, making it the UK's first high definition channel from a terrestrial broadcaster. Alongside American favourites such as ‘Ugly Betty’ Channel 4 HD will also show original programming in HD such as ‘Hollyoaks’ and ‘Skins’.

Kevin Burrows, CTO – Broadcast and Distribution at Channel 4, added: “We have a long and excellent relationship with Arqiva and we are delighted to entrust this final and important element of our transmission network to their care. Their ongoing support has been invaluable in enabling even more UK viewers to enjoy their favourite Channel 4 programmes in spectacular high definition.”