A little mystery is unfolding thousands of miles above the equator. ITV is in the process of reorganising the way it broadcasts on satellite.
Last week a number of SD regional services were dropped from satellite. Now a few remaining SD services are moving between ITV’s transponders in a game of electronic musical chairs.
The aim appears to be to free up more space for HD services. All ITV plc regions – other than Channel and Border Scotland – are now available in HD on satellite. As most satellite viewers have HD, ITV regions in SD are effectively just a legacy.
But three of the regions are not on ITV’s own dedicated transponders. Presumably the plan is to move them.
But here is the mystery. If extra space is available, might it mean the two tiny regions – Border Scotland and Channel – finally going into HD? If so, their SD satellite streams would probably be dropped quickly.
Four big English regions remain in SD to ensure remaining users of the legacy service see the correct advertising macro region while, presumably, there would be a degree of sensitivity surrounding dropping the SD versions of ITV Wales and UTV.
So is ITV really set to be the first channel of its kind to truly treat SD as a mere legacy?
So where are we in the HD race between the 5 principal channels?
- BBC One should have its English regions in HD by next year – at last. None of the English regions are available in HD currently.
- BBC Two offers all its 3 versions in HD – except to satellite viewers in Northern Ireland.
- ITV is currently out in front – except in two small regions.
- Channel 4 HD is not on the Freesat EPG and only on 104 on Sky in one macro region because of regionalised advertising. There is speculation it may restore its Freesat service.
- Channel 5 HD is on 105 across the UK but it has no regional variations whatsoever.
All very interesting.
Oh – and when UTV SD officially moves transponder at some point soon will the name on the EPG be modified? Perhaps to ITV – UTV? Watch this space.
PICTURED: ITV break bumper. COPYRIGHT: ITV plc.