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With the first Freeview HD transmissions scheduled to start on the 2 December in the London, Liverpool and Manchester areas, Register Hardware answers all your questions about the new telly technology.

Freeview HD logo

New Zealand's Freeview HD logo. What will Blighty' look like?

What do I need to receive Freeview HD?
You’ll need a TV or set top box with the Freeview HD logo. Getting the logo involves certification for both the video encoding and the transmission systems, as well as an updated version of the interactive (digital text) engine. Simply having a TV with the ‘HD Ready’ logo is not sufficient. You should also look out for the DVB-T2 logo.

When will it be coming to my area?
The first transmissions will start at the Crystal Palace and Winter Hill transmitters on 2 December 2009. In areas that have already switched off the analogue signal, HD transmissions will start over the next year, and roll out to other regions as switchover happens, with a few exceptions. Click here or the full timetable.

Will my existing ‘HD Ready’ set work?
Not without an external set-top box. The ‘HD Ready’ logo just indicates that the screen is capable of showing an HD picture, and that there are sockets that allow you to connect something producing one, like a Blu-ray player or an HD receiver. It does not mean that the tuner or decoder in the set is capable of understanding HD signals – there’s a separate (and seldom seen) ‘HD TV’ logo for that.

For a definition of the logos, see this crib-sheet (PDF).

DVB-T2 logo

So have I been mis-sold?
If you can be certain that someone sold you an ‘HD Ready’ set and told you it would receive Freeview HD when it launched, then maybe. The ‘HD Ready’ logo was defined in 2005, so sales assistants should know what it means by now, and it’s been clear for over a year which technology the UK would use to receive HD – and that it ruled out equipment designed for HD in other countries.

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