The BBC has announced today that a new BBC One HD channel will launch in the autumn, offering a simulcast of BBC One. The existing BBC HD channel will remain, showcasing HD material from the Corporation’s other channels, and will extend to 12 hours a day.
Programmes including The One Show, Weakest Link, QI and The Apprentice are scheduled to move to HD production by the end of the year.
Other long-running shows such as Songs of Praise, Question of Sport and Blue Peter will also be moving to HD. According to the BBC press release:
“The Autumn launch is the first stage in delivering BBC One in HD. The majority of programmes in the BBC One network evening schedule will be available in HD at launch, and by 2012 it is expected that the vast majority of all BBC One titles across all hours will be in HD.”
The new service will be available on all digital TV platforms that carry HD – that’s Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.
So, now we know what the fourth slot on the Freeview HD mux will be used for.
Update: Regional variations
From the BBC Trust website:
“the Trust also recognised that technical and financial constraints currently prevent additional variations, and asked the BBC Executive to take steps to minimise the effects of this on viewers in the nations and regions.”
So, it looks like this will probably be the main BBC One London feed. I suspect that the considerations are largely financial (eg extra capacity on satellite to deliver regional versions), because I recall at the Freeview HD technical launch, it was mentioned that the HD network had been designed to cope with regional variations.
There’s some more on this at the BBC Internet Blog.
6pm update: Want to see the ident?