Al Jazeera English has been named as the first channel outside of the UK’s public service broadcasters to take HD capacity on the terrestrial platform Freeview.
The international news channel, which is already available on DTT in standard definition, is leasing capacity on one of two HD multiplexes held by Arqiva. The multiplex operator that was awarded the capacity by Ofcom in July, says Al Jazeera English HD will be available in 50 per cent of UK households.
Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English said, “Our partnership with Arqiva lets us provide the highest quality journalism with the highest quality picture and technical standards. This means our viewers will have an even clearer picture of our in-depth eyewitness reporting from our 70 bureaus across the globe, and of our documentaries and programmes on the issues that matter to people in the UK.”
Mike Finchen, director of digital platforms at Arqiva, said, “Audiences today demand more and higher quality content. We believe these new HD channels will provide a major impetus to the continued and strong uptake of Freeview HD TVs. This is an exciting first step in the launch of more HD channels on Freeview.”
Arqiva has confirmed that broadcast coverage of the new HD multiplexes will extend to 70 per cent of all UK households by June 2014.
The 600 MHz spectrum, which covers the range 550 to 606 MHz, was cleared of analogue TV on a region-by-region basis during the UK’s digital TV switchover.
The BBC has already committed to the launch of additional HD services, including the BBC News channel, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies and CBBC.