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Freeview to get fifth HD channel

Gentlemen, start your bids

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Britain is to get a fifth HD channel on Freeview, regulator Ofcom confirmed today, you lucky, lucky people.

The watchdog said it has invited the UK's commercial free-to-air channels - the likes of ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and, apparently, "the Welsh Authority" - to tell it what they would do with the extra slot if they had it.

The BBC isn't in the running having already got two channels - BBC HD and BBC One HD, the latter having been made possible by Ofcom's release of the space originally earmarked for Channel 5.

Five is clearly getting another go, and may well pitch to bring its Five HD channel, currently on Virgin, to Freeview.

Freeview HD is being rolled out in line with the existing digital switchover schedule and will eventually be available to 98.5 per cent of UK households by the end of 2012, Ofcom claimed. More than half of UK households can pick up Freeview HD now. ®

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