Five HD, will not be launching on Freeview HD. Five was originally awarded a slot on Multiplex B, along with BBC, ITV & C4/S4C.
Ofcom’s final decision published on March 15th 2010 states that five had “not been able to resolve the outstanding issues”.
As part of the licencing process the spare capacity now reverts back the BBC. Ofcom may allow Commercial Operators to apply again next year.
This announcement leaves the fledgling Freeview HD service with just BBC HD & ITV 1 HD as the only broadcasters on the Terrestrial HD service for the foreseeable future.
With little (no) fanfare Freeview HD has officially launched, with the first receivers coming to market. First out the start blocks was a Set Top Box – STB – from Humax. Titled Humax Fox T-2. TVs with built in Freeview HD are arriving from Panasonic, Sony etc over the coming months.
Freeview HD currently offers ITV1HD & BBC HD, with Channel 4 HD to launch at Summer.
The receiver is, as you would expect from Humax, a superb quality piece of kit. Well built, with the familiar Humax menus and is very easy to use. Even the Remote is similar to other Humax units. The newest addition is a “TV Portal” button, which hints at the future options for connecting the Humax to the internet or a home network. Freeview Standard Def pictures are on par with other Humax receivers – picture quality varies dependant on the bit rate employed by the broadcaster.
Thats sadly where the review ends for us. Despite our best efforts – 7 different aerials across 5 different locations in & around Horsham, we were unable to receive Freeview HD Signals. Currently the HD Signal is broadcast at a much lower level from Crystal Palace, than other Digital Signals. We can get all ‘normal’ Freeview signals with only minor blocking, but just couldn’t get the Humax to lock & tune in the HD signal.
Humax has since confirmed the T-2 requires 100% Signal Quality, with Signal Strength at least 30%. Other users, even in Central London have reported failure to receive Freeview HD. As we expected Freeview HD may not be the answer some thought it would be.
If you would like HD TV now, with quality reception, no subcription & no contract, the best way forward is to install Freesat HD.
Sky have confirmed ITV 1 HD is to join their platform. 2nd April 2010 will see ITV 1 HD appear on the EPG at channel 178. This slot on the EPG becomes vacant when Men & Motors closes on April 1st – M&M is to close across all platforms on the same date.
There is no conformation yet if ITV 1 HD is to go full time on Freesat at this time. If we receive any news we will post it here.
It has also been confirmed Five HD is to launch on Sky in July. This follows the news that the Freeview HD licence, awarded to Five has lapsed as Five did not “resolve outstanding issues” required by Ofcom. See the Five HD Update post for more info.