Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards has said the regulator has drawn up a plan that would allow up to four high definition channels to be broadcast on the DTT system. Speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild, Richards explained the plan had not been greeted with universal enthusiasm by the public broadcasters, which had been seeking gifted capacity after digital switchover.
Richards explained that the combination of new compression technology and a reshuffle of the existing DTT line-up could create additional capacity for HD: “The whole point is that we can use spectrum space more efficiently,” he said. Richards is not proposing a wholesale shift to either MPEG-4 or DVB-S2, but these technologies could be used for new services.
“There is a debate about how much you can squeeze in, we’ve got a view, but we have commissioned some independent research which we will make public in due course. We genuinely believe that you can get four HD channels,” said Richards. He hinted that after initial scepticism, some broadcasters were now coming round to Ofcom’s proposals.