All change for Freeview between 2014 and 2018
Now, we don’t want to worry you, but there’s a danger that there’ll be some Freeview hassle to look forward to in 2018. OK, so this is a long way off, but we thought we’d give you as much advance notice as possible…
More Freeview HD
Let’s soften you up with the good news. Ofcom has announced that we’re in for some more Freeview HD channels. As a result of the digital switchover, some precious space has been freed up. Some is to be used for the upcoming 4G networks, due in 2013, and some is awaiting a purpose.
It looks like that space could well be used for up to 10 additional Freeview HD channels by 2014, if proposals go ahead.
And now, the bad news. Ofcom has also announced that in 2018, some of the spectrum used for digital TV services, will be hived off for a new mobile data network. Now, we’ve only just got 4G, but plans are afoot for a 5G network, to meet the needs of an increasingly data-hungry UK.
We’ve already warned Freeview viewers that we can expect over a million homes to see interference to Freeview services in 2013 as a result of the new 4G networks – but it looks like 2018 will be another bad year for Freeview viewers.
The proposals outlined by Ofcom call for the existing Freeview channels to move down the UHF band, to free up space in the 700MHz band. This means there will be less space available for Freeview. As well as allowing space for a new 5G mobile data network, the proposed changes are to bring the UK in line with other users of the UHF band around the world.
What does this mean in practice? Potentially fewer Freeview channels in 2018. Either that, or a push to get the UK to shift to the newer and more efficient DVB-T2 format. This format is already in use in the new Freeview HD boxes and TV sets, so a transition should be fairly painless for those with HD kit. here’s a danger that moving to this format could spell the end for the older DVB-T boxes and TVs, potentially making them obsolete. Some Freeview viewers may also need to have their TV aerials replaced, to ensure that they will be able to continue watching Freeview from 2018.
Hopefully, by 2018, many homes in the UK will have switched away from the older Freeview boxes to Freeview HD equipment, and the industry is clearly hoping that by adding up to 10 more HD channels, people will make the transition more quickly. However, there will still be plenty of the older boxes and TV sets out there, and there’s a danger that these will need to be binned in 2018 if the UK switches to the more efficient DVB-T2 format.
So, by 2018, would you rather?
- Lose some of the existing Freeview channels, or
- Replace your non-HD Freeview boxes and TV sets
If plans continue as they are, that could be the choice lying ahead for Freeview viewers
Update: Thanks to one site visitor for suggesting this is a cunning plan to push the UK over to satellite TV, removing the need for messy TV aerials!
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