2010 commercial launch for Freeview HD

freeview_hdDVB WORLD – BERLIN. The BBC is aiming to have its terrestrial HD service up and running in time for the 2010 World Cup with Freeview looking to target the upmarket ABC1 groups that have found the Freeview+ PVR so attractive.

Cheryl Sloan, director of strategy and new product development, Freeview, said that of the 14 million HD Ready sets in the market, 26% were already in Freeview homes, this she said represented “low hanging fruit”.

“It’s looking like we should be able to reach 30-40% of the population by 2010 in time for the World Cup in that year,” said Graham Plumb, head of distribution technology, BBC Distribution. The anticipation is that boxes could be priced around the £100 mark.

Plumb said there had been some hard decisions along the way, particularly concerning the use of the 1080p standard, the so-called “Full HD”. “It was a brisk and painful debate, but we decided if we looked at it they would not be able to launch in time, so we if we had of included 1080p we wouldn’t be able to launch in time, although the receivers will be able to upscale.”

Describing the benefits of the DVB-T2 technology that will be used to deliver the UK’s HDTV service, Plumb said he was anticipating capacity savings of 50% on DVB-T. The Crystal Palace main transmitter switched on by Arqiva on February 20, joining the Guildford transmitter that had been on-air since June 27 last year.

Panasonic, Pace, Humax, Sony, Sidsa, NXP and ST Microelectronics are all participating in the tests.