UK: Terrestrial HD Trial Set for Summer

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five in the United Kingdom plan to jointly test a terrestrial HD service in London this summer and the broadcasters are currently seeking up to 450 households with "HD Ready" receivers to take part in the trial.

The DTT (digital direct television) testing will employ a frequency not currently available to commercial broadcasters; the signal will be transmitted at low power, both for testing purposes, and to avoid any potential interference problems. (For those familiar with London, the test signal will only be receivable within an area bordered by the North and South Circular roads.)

The test programming will include live World Cup coverage from the BBC and ITV. The BBC said the DTT HD trial will be a "closed technical test available only to the triallists. Londoners with Freeview boxes will see the test channels listed in their on-screen menu, but will not be able to access them." (Freeview is a free Brit DTT service.) Part of the trial, according to the BBC, will be to understand how the audience "values" HD programming.

London was chosen for the trial because a low-power HD signal should be able to reach many dwellings without interfering with existing broadcasts.