ITV bringing ITV1 HD to Freeview
By Andrew Laughlin, Technology Reporter
ITV has agreed to launch a high definition simulcast of ITV1 on Freeview in time for the World Cup tournament next year, according to reports.
Plans to bring ITV1 HD to the Freeview platform were announced yesterday as part of the broadcaster's half-year financial results. This move follows the agreement of a carriage deal between ITV and the BBC for the release of digital terrestrial television bandwidth for the channel's launch.
ITV1 HD will be made available in the UK in line with Freeview's planned launch schedule for high definition services, with transmissions due to commence at the Winter Hill transmitter on December 2.
Following this, Freeview has plans for 50% of UK homes to be able to receive Freeview HD for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa next June. Customers will need to purchase new set top box equipment to receive the service, with the Digital TV Group recently confirming that at least two such products should reach the market by the end of this year.
ITV is also currently "looking at the options" with regards to ITV1 HD on Freesat, where the channel is currently offered as a red button-only service as opposed to a distinct channel or simulcast.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Freesat trade marketing manager James Atkins said that the free-to-air satellite platform would hope to carry a similar distinct ITV1 HD channel as is destined for Freeview.
"I think that we would expect to receive a full simulcast of ITV1 in high definition, although there is no commitment at this stage," he said. "But as it's from a public service broadcaster then we would expect it to become available."