UK: Millions Retune Boxes for HD

Viewers in an estimated 18 million homes across the U.K. are retuning their Freeview set-top boxes this week in order to upgrade to receive HD programming.

Among other things, the change-over will mean more Brits will get access to ch. 5 (known as “Five”) — while other dwellings may no longer be able to receive ITV3 and ITV4, according to Reuters. And some Freeview STBs may no longer work at all.

But to hear a Freeview executive tell it, “These significant and necessary changes will immediately bring Freeview viewers new channels, introduce new homes to existing channels and prepare the platform for the future availability of Freeview HD.”

The technical upgrade to HD was scheduled to take place today (Sept. 30), as Freeview officials were asking viewers to retune their boxes starting at around lunchtime (apparently no specific changeover time was announced).

The changes, Freeview said, should mean that more than a half-million homes will be able to receive Five for the first time.