Plans by the BBC to introduce a high definition channel is unlikely to have a significant negative market impact, according to Ofcom. Publishing its Market Impact Assessment (MIA) on BBC HD, which has been in a test phase since June 2006, the regulator said the channel was likely to encourage the take up of HD across “all the major TV platforms including digital terrestrial television, satellite and cable”.
In a glimmer of hope to broadcasters and manufacturers looking to launch HD services on DTT, Ofcom says the presence of the BBC HD channel on the terrestrial spectrum cannot be discussed in isolation. The regulator also expresses fears that IPTV may be held back by its apparent inability to accomodate HD channels.
Ofcom has highlighted the potential issues if the BBC were to launch an HD service alone, both to other channels, and to the public if they were required to upgrade their MPEG-2 set-tops to the new MPEG-4 technology.
Separately, the BBC Trust has published its own Market Impact Assessment, highlighting the BBC’s ‘Plan B’ of a four-hour overnight DTT service that would involve utilising spectrum used by BBC and Channel 4.
The full Public Value Test and Market Impact Assessment will be published next Tuesday (September 25).