U.K.: BBC Details Terrestrial HD Rollout

The BBC is slowly rolling out details on its dissemination of HD signals on its terrestrial transmission network that covers virtually all of the United Kingdom, known as Freeview HD. The U.K.'s deadline for a final switch to DTV is not until 2012.

The BBC wants to make Freeview HD available to at least half the population of the U.K. by June 2010 — in time for the next World Cup international soccer matches. By 2012 (it hasn't been overly specific on exactly when in 2012, the same year the Olympics come to London) its goal is to cover just under 99 percent of the population with robust terrestrial signals.

Besides the HD plans for the BBC— which is subsidized by a longstanding mandatory citizen's fee for broadcasting — independent channel ITV HD also plans to add its primetime programming to an over-the-air mode. ITVHD is now solely available to satellite subscriber ("Freesat") households. A simulcast of Channel 4 also will be offered terrestrially in HD soon — perhaps as early as 2010.

Meanwhile, by next spring, BBC HD is set to be available terrestrially for London, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bradford.