03.17.2010 02:05 PM
U.K.: Channel Five loses HD Freeview Slot

He who hesitates is lost… when it comes to gaining HD spectrum.

In this case, "he" is apparently Channel Five serving the United Kingdom, which will not be launching an HD service on Britain's Freeview service before 2012 (if then) after failing to adequately provide a launch date and proposed programming schedule to the nation's FCC-like media regulator, Ofcom.

Ofcom had set aside a channel assignment on Freeview for an HD service for Five last summer, but said it's decided to no longer reserve spectrum capacity on the service for the commercial broadcaster, which has been experiencing some financial problems due to the global recession. A second HD channel from the BBC is now a likely possibility, which Ofcom noted, especially since the BBC controls the multiplex being tapped to provide future HD channels.

Among other things, Five was unable to provide Ofcom with any details regarding the channel's HD rollout plans, including a suitable start-date.

Two broadcasters which already plan to launch their own HD channels had also shown some interest in assuming Five's now-vacant slot on Freeview, but Ofcom said neither Channel Four nor public service channel S4C (serving Wales) had submitted launch scenario plans to the regulator, either, according to Broadband TV News.

Ofcom indicated it plans to provide a second chance for Five or another commercial broadcaster to initiate an HD channel on Freeview in 2012.

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