Despite the popularity of smart phones and tablets, when it comes to watching television, the traditional TV set is the screen of choice for UK viewers, according to a report from Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK.
Italian state broadcaster RAI is to launch a bouquet of four high definition channels on the ASTRA 19.2°E satellites. The channels will be encrypted as part of the free-to-view TivùSat platform to restrict viewing to Italian residents only. Rai Uno, Rai Due and Rai Tre have started broadcasting from the 11.288GHz transponder on ASTRA 1L, and a fourth channel is expected to join them soon.
The BBC has now officially launched the new five high definition channels announced in July which have been recently test-broadcasting. HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC and CBeebies are broadcasting free-to-air from ASTRA 28.2°E
The BBC has begun test broadcasts of five high definition channels announced in summer 2013 for launch in 2014. HD versions of BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and CBeebies are broadcasting with the same schedule as the existing SD channels, from two transponders on ASTRA 28.2°E (10.847GHz/V and 11.023GHz/H) that are already used by national HD services of BBC One, BBC Two and regional versions of BBC One.
The new HD channels do not yet feature in the Sky UK or Freesat EPGs but are broadcast free-to-air.
High definition versions of six channels from German public service broadcaster ARD launch via satellite on December 5. Available in HD will be thematic channels EinsFestival (previously testing in HD), EinsPlus, and Tagesschau24, along with regional channels, hr, MDR and RBB.
UK regional commercial TV channel, UTV will be available to Northern Ireland viewers in high definition from November 4 as part of the Freesat free-to-air satellite TV platform. UTV HD broadcasts from the ASTRA 28.2°E satellites, on Freesat channel 119.
German sports channel Sport1 has launched a new high definition pay-TV channel dedicated to US sports as part of the Sky Deutschland pay-TV platform. Sport1 US carries a diverse coverage of sports from NFL American football and NBA basketball, through NCAA College Football and Basketball, to the IndyCar Series.
The BBC is launching five new free-to-air high definition channels next year. In early 2014, HD versions of BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBeebies and CBBC will be broadcast by satellite from the ASTRA 28.2°E position to the UK, alongside the existing BBC One HD and BBC Two HD channels. The new HD channels will broadcast unencrypted with the same schedule as the existing SD channels and join the EPG of the Freesat and Sky UK platforms.
The BBC will launch an HD version of its BBC Two channel on March 26. Broadcasting free-to-air from ASTRA 28.2°E to the UK as part of the Freesat and Sky UK platforms, BBC Two HD will follow the same programme schedule as the existing SD version of BBC Two, upscaling those programmes not made in high definition.
More than 1 million German homes are now paying the €50 annual service fee to receive the HD+ high definition satellite platform, with almost 2 million more receiving the HD channels in their 12-month free trial period. At the end of 2012 over 944,000 were paying the fee, more than double the number a year previously.