BBC publishes Freeview HD timetable
London and Manchester top tune-in list
London and Manchester will pip Liverpool to the post by becoming Blighty’s first cities able to receive Freeview HD, according to the BBC’s regional rollout timetable for the next-generation digital TV service.
Graham Plumb, Head of Distribution Technology at BBC Operations, told Register Hardware back in June that Liverpool would receive Freeview HD on 2 December 2009.
However, a month-by-month rollout for the service published today by the BBC reveals that Liverpool now won’t receive Freeview HD until March 2010 – the same time as it beams into parts of Lancashire and Staffordshire.
There’s good news in store for Manchester and London, though. The BBC’s Freeview HD roadmap also revealed that both cities will get the service from 2 December 2009.
Fifty per cent of the UK population will be able to receive Freeview HD in time for the World Cup in June 2010, but it will be another three years before all – well, 98.5 per cent – of the UK can receive Freeview HD.
Wales’ Freeview HD rollout will be complete by the end of July 2010, the BBC added, while Scotland will be able to receive the service by Q2 2010.
Telly fans in Northern Ireland, Sussex, Tyneside, North Yorkshire and Kent won’t receive Freeview HD until 2012, the BBC added.
HD TVs that don’t sport a 'Freeview HD' logo won't receive the service, though. Most existing Freeview-ready HD TVs use a DVB-T tuner, but Freeview HD requires sets to have a DVB-T2 tuner. To receive the service you should either buy a Freeview HD set-top box or buy a new telly. Sorry! ®
HD Ready / HDTV
The "HD Ready" label has a very specific meaning - it means that the display is widescreen, with at least 720 lines of resolution, and has an HDMI or DVI input, with HDCP, plus a few extra bits about the picture formats that can be displayed.
That's all. The "HD Ready" standard, as defined by EICTA (www.digitaleurope.org), and licensed for use on equipment, has only ever meant that the display is of sufficient resolution, and with appropriate connections, to be connected to an HD source. It has never been defined in any official way to mean "will receive HD broadcasts"
There's another logo for that, again licensed by EICTA, which is the "HD TV" logo. That tells you that something can "receive and decode HD signals", such as a satellite box or a Freeview HD box. When it appears on something with a display it additionally indicates that the display meets the "HD Ready" spec.
Of course, plenty of people misconstrue the term "HD Ready" to mean that something will do what the "HD TV" logo is for, but the official definition, at least as far as the label on the front of equipment goes, has been clear since 2005.
What the spotty youths in your favourite retailer may tell you is, of course, not necessarily the same.
The reason given for not rolling out DAB+ is that there's already loads DAB kit out there and the digital powers that be don't want to alienate those who've already got DAB. This never made sense to me since the same argument could have been applied to DAB: We don't want to roll out DAB because it will alienate all the people with FM tuners.
However the same argument is not being applied to Freeview. I bet there are more Freview STBs and TVs out there with DVB-T tuners than there are DAB radios, but they're perfectly happy to piss off everybody who'd already forked out for a TV or STB.
So either this is a nasty case of double standards or the real reason for not going to DAB+ is nothing to do with upsetting DAB users.
Just to clear this up, in case anyone was asleep th elast 5 years
HD Ready = not SD
Currys/Comet/etc have been selling this concept for years