Freeview has confirmed that its new HD service is on track to reach 50% of the UK by the time the World Cup gets underway in June. Channel 4 HD and in Wales S4C Clirlun will join existing channels BBC HD and ITV1 HD.
Although HD signals have been present on the UK terrestrial system since last December, today marks the official launch of the service, complete with a £6 million marketing campaign that gets underway over Easter. The first of a series of eight ads will break on Saturday April 3 and run through until the World Cup, before returning ahead of Christmas. The ‘Great Combinations’ campaign allows scenes from everyday TV programmes are combined with backdrops of established, epic visuals, related to HD.
From tomorrow (Wednesday) around 4.5 million homes will be covered by Freeview HD for the first time. This includes the cities of Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff.
Commenting on today’s launch announcement, Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview, said: “Freeview is taking the experience of stunning HD to a new level of access and availability. Our high definition service offers many of the UK’s favourite shows in glorious high definition and as always with Freeview, you just need to buy the equipment and there’s no contract or monthly bills. And with the World Cup just around the corner, there is no better time for viewers to embrace High Definition TV.”
Wales will tomorrow become the first nation in the United Kingdom to switch to all digital. The Welsh language HD channel S4C Clirlun will go on-air on April 30, replacing Channel 4 HD in Wales.
A number of manufacturers have already committed to the supply of Freeview HD boxes and Freeview HD TVs. These include Sony, Panasonic, Humax, Bush and ADB. Prices of Freeview HD boxes start from £99, Freeview HD TVs from £480 and Freeview+ HD boxes are expected to cost from £250.