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Aug 07 2009

ITV have today announced the planned launch of ITV1 HD, which is said to be in place by the end of the year when Freeview switch-over begins. The channel has also been confirmed as being available from the off on the Freesat platform, whilst no agreement is yet in place with Sky or Virgin Media.

ITV1 HD will run in a similar manner to how C4 HD currently is, with simulcast programmes and up to an expected 50% of peak-time programming in native HD by 2010, and 70% by 2014.

This channel is said to replace the current red button ITV HD service, although no definite date has been given for this. We’d like to think that our post helped make this decision, although we suspect it had been planned for some time. 😉

69 Responses to “ITV Announce ITV HD Simulcast Plans”

  1. Iain.D Says:

    Good news. I wonder if it will stop all the negative comments for….eh….5min? Up to Ch4 now.


  2. Paul S Watts Says:

    Good grief

    This, if correct, is a bit of an unexpected shocker. The cynic in me does tend to question such an announcement so soon after the publication of the awful financial woes of ITV as a group.

    However, if it does prove to be correct – about time and bring it on. All they would have to do is increase the quality of their output to bring in more viewers and therefore more revenue.

    I await, with anticipation a formal announcement and timings of a planned launch.


  3. Tony Hales Says:

    It’s a start. One day every channel will be in HD and there will not be room on Freeview for them.
    I do hope ITV will not be using the 720p low bitrate Freeview HD version for Freesat.


  4. Oyodi Says:

    At last
    Some common sense from ITV, Fantastic news.
    Now if only we had a date for Ch4HD !!! and maybe Ch5HD, I can only dream, Film4HD etc etc ………………. Wow, now that would be a dream line up.


  5. Lee B Says:

    Excellent news, I agree with Tony and hope the existing HD bandwidth will remain and they don’t try and offer the reduced bandwidth version that will appear on freeview HD.

    I have seen talk of BBC HD already reducing its bandwidth on freesat, and this is not good news!.

    I doubt C4HD will be far behind considering they already have a HD channel up and working…


  6. MJ Says:

    What date is it today?? Is it April 1st????

    This is good news, no strike that, great news!


  7. Andy Clayton Says:

    Good news for HD generally, but ITV show utter rubbish most of the time… OK, so that’s a bit biased and completely unfair so before I get shouted at I’ll retract that…

    Seriously, though, I hope that this encourages the BBC to do something similar. BBC HD is probably the best channel on Freesat by a long way and the amount of HD content is growing all the time so surely there’s scope for a BBC1 HD and then perhaps BBC HD could show the pick of the rest of the BBC channels (2, 3 and 4)? Come on BBC, you know it makes sense!


  8. derek500 Says:

    Have you got a link that says “The channel has been confirmed as also being available on the Freesat platform….”?

    Both Broadcast and Media Guardian just say:-

    “ITV HD programming is already available to view in HD format on Freesat, the free to air digital satellite TV service”.

    “ITV already runs an HD channel on Freesat….”

    No mention of linear replacing ‘red button’


  9. admin Says:


    The information is part of the release to investors on the proposed plans for ITV1 HD; the specific detail cannot be quoted unless ITV decide to publicly release the plans.


  10. Peter (bobmarleypeople) Says:

    This came as a bit of a shock. ITV have reported record losses and are having to sell “Friends Reunited” to try and get some money. If they’re making a HD channel, that’s gonna take a fair bit of money. Perhaps, in the long run, advertisers will want to get their content on a major HD channel (most others are subscription only channels so attract a smaller audience). If so, then ITV will release the new channel on ALL platforms (including Sky and Virgin Media) in order to keep advertisers happy and attract a bigger market.

    Unfortunately, I won’t be watching it much. Perhaps for the odd film, but ITV’s general programming is awful as of late. I’m waiting for five to sort out their contracts and release fiver and fiveUSA on Freesat, but that could take a long time (if at all).


  11. Brian P Says:

    At last, a step in the right direction. I just hope they can improve the quality of the programming along with the planned increase in HD transmissions but I suppose I’m expecting too much. Give me quality over quantity every time.


  12. philboo Says:

    Quote “Tony Hales Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 4:29 pm
    It’s a start. One day every channel will be in HD and there will not be room on Freeview for them.
    I do hope ITV will not be using the 720p low bitrate Freeview HD version for Freesat.”

    Not sure what you’re referring to in your above post. The technical standard from FreeviewHD being recommended by the BBC is 1920 x 1080 interlaced and Ofcom will be cause if it is reduced to 1440 x 1080i that FreesatHD uses currently. Yes, those resolutions are correct for FreesatHD and the proposed FreeviewHD.


  13. Oyodi Says:

    I read here on back in February that BBC i player was coming to FreeSat this autumn; and can’t wait for this to happen, I already have my FreeSat box connected to the internet.

    I think its great that ITV are going to broadcast a simulcast HD channel and hopefully not in a low bit rate of 720p but keeping to 1080i, I think in reality they have no choice because after losing a fortune over the last year, they know that HD is the future, so I wonder if their I player will also come to FreeSat as well at a later date?


  14. Al Catraz Says:

    Ignoring my inner cynical self, this is good news – the first we’ve had for some time.
    Let’s hope their “peak time programming” will have some decent quality programmes by then.


  15. Tony Hales Says:

    Ok so what about Freeview HD. Intitally Ofcom plans to put 4 HD 720p channels on mux B. The total bandwidth is 27.2 Mbit/s which gives us 6.8 Mbit/s per channel. Ofcom say that this is mitigated by a 15% stat mux gain which gives us 7.82 Mbit/s per channel. So what would 720p/50 look like at such a low bit rate. Well the EBU has done a study using TSCES of visual quality of HD at various bit rates. The values obtained have a scale of 0 to 100. Basicaly 0 is SD and 100 is 1080p/50 uncompressed. Averaged over various video sequences and with both LCD and Plasma screens the result for 720p is 65. In other words the picture quality only reaches 65% of the improvement uncompressed video can achieve over SD. So I am afraid that many people may well be disappointed when freeview HD arrives.

    Unfortunatly this is not the total story. The test were performed with video sequences derived from 1080p/50 video. Research has shown that deinterlacing 1080i/25 significanly reduces the subjective picture quality. Unfortunatly alot of video is being produced in 1080i/25 format which would require a bit rate of 11 Mbit/s to give the same quality as 8 Mbit/s sourced at 1080p/50.

    Alas the situation is even worst. Ofcom plan to increase the number of HD channels on mux B to 5. This will reduce the stat mux corrected bit rate to 6.79 Mbit/s.

    So in conclusion Ofcom is going to destroy DDT in exactly the same way as it destroyed DAB. SD and HD picture quality on DTT is going to be unwatchable.

    Sound quality will also be affected as the 5.1 dolby is going to be transmitted at 160 kbit/s instead of the 320 kbit/s used on satellite.


  16. Alex Says:

    does this mean its going to be on all the while like CH4HD and Upscaling the none HD content?


  17. philboo Says:

    Quote:”Tony Hales Says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 8:46 pm
    Ok so what about Freeview HD. Intitally Ofcom plans to put 4 HD 720p channels on mux B”

    I find this strange as Kingswood Warren just one month ago said that it’ll be 1080i and the decision to be made is 1440 or 1920 horizontal resolution based on tests with coverage of DTT under test conditions, not picture quality.


  18. IanP Says:

    I wonder if ITV have secured more bandwidth on Astra 2D, possibly on the BBC HD transponder tied in with the Freeview HD bandwidth deal. If they haven’t got space on 2D can they have a FTA linear channel symulcasting the ITV1 schedule without international rights problems with sport, movies and aquisitions? Without red button access (via the ITV London AD channel) will STV and UTV viewers only have access via change of postcode or non-Freesat mode? I wonder if ITV have found a way to obfuscate an HD channel on the Freesat EPG so they can go linear without moving the HD service to 2D and still keep rights owners happy.


  19. derek500 Says:

    If it’s going to be a linear channel, and I’m not convinced it will be, how will they sort out the local advertising which is so important to ITV?

    Of course ITV1 HD on Freeview, won’t have that problem.


  20. Trevor Harris Says:

    This is a suprise as others have pointed out ITV are making a massive loss and have failed to make thier payment to the FA for football. I still wonder if they are not heading the way of Setanta or may be a take over. I cannot see any real financial benifit to going DTT HD so soon as only a few transmitters would be available. It would make much more financial sense to go on satellite with a much larger audiance and lower transmission costs.

    As far as I can see the only way ITV will survive is to become a pay tv company. Advertising alone is not producing enough income to survive.


  21. Brusselsman Says:

    As my wife pointed out sponsorship of programmes can probably gives good income to ITV.

    It is also rather neat because even if you do all your viewing on a PVR and skip through the adverts you nearly always catch the programme sponsor messages.


  22. Al (Original) Says:

    Great news. Lets just hope the quality of the upscaling is good.

    Having had a Farouja chipset in one of my players I know that a quality upscaler such as that can produce upscaled material to rival HD. In fact House of Flying Daggers DVD which is one of the best DVD’s out there, looked just like Blu Ray when upscaled by it. Obviously, broadcasters don’t have as high a bit rate to play with, but given a quality upscaler I’d have thought they could have come close. Adverts whilst watching ITV HD certainly seem to upscale very well.


  23. Nigel Whitfield Says:

    The carrying capacity of the Freeview HD mux is a lot more than Tony says; I don’t know why he keeps trotting out out of date figures, other than to deliberately talk the service down.

    The actual expected capacity using the DVB-T2 system is around 40-50% higher than the existing DVB-T technology – something that most people who follow the technology have been well aware of some almost a year, since the first demos at IBC in Amsterdam last year.

    Mux bandwidth is likely to be around 36 or higher; so it’s quite likely that the capacity per channel will be more than adequate; don’t forget that following the introduction of new encoders in the last week, the BBC HD channel can get by on some material at around 9MBps – which is oddly enough about as much as a channel will get on the HD Freeview service.

    Of course, obsessing about numbers is fun, but it’s not the whole story; 1080 isn’t always better than 720, and there are other aspects such as encoder settings that mean just talking about bitrate (especially if you’re making up artificially low ones) is not the most rational way to discuss picture quality.


  24. MJ Says:

    he sooner they do this the better.

    Tonight we have an amazing cock up. Blue Crush is meant to be available in HD, but no red button prompt appears.

    At first you may think that it simply not been broadcast in HD and it is a error in the schedule, but no, oh no, its not that simple.

    Someone has forgotten to turn on the red button prompt!! We now have the strange scenario where Freesat HD viewers cannot access their “exclusive channel” to watch the movie and Sky HD users with the latest EPG can happily tune in and watch the movie! WTF??????

    Seriously, someone needs to knock some heads together at ITV HD!


  25. IanP Says:

    derek500 said:
    Of course ITV1 HD on Freeview, won’t have that problem (local advertising).

    ITV1 HD will be carried on mux B which isn’t regionalised, There are only two versions of mux B currently one for pre-switchover transmitters and the other for post-switchover. Wales will need a variant of mux B to carry S4C HD instaed of C4 HD and if Scotland or Ulster want to have their own “channel 3” HD services (which I’m not sure they will have) so will they. England will get Granada region ITV1 HD on Freeview which I believe is what Freesat also gets for ITV HD currently. This is why the regional news and programming won’t be carried on ITV1 HD, instead regional shows from across the network will be carried nationally and additional programming will fill region news slots.


  26. Oyodi Says:

    To Mj
    I had set my Humax PVR to record Blue Crush and after reading your post have checked to see if it recorded, as many of my recording of only ITV HD have failed. For the first 3+ minuets all I had was ITV HD not available, and thought here we go again when, hay presto, the film appeared!! I dont know how much was missed of the beginning but I suspect about 3 minutes.


  27. Steve Says:

    Completely agree with Nigel @ 23. An awful lot of work will be done to ensure that ALL the parameters are looked at. There is not a cat in hells chance that the Beeb wont have carefully worked through this to get the best out of the WHOLE system and you can bet that ITV will be doing the same taking into consideration their difficult financial position at present. I get the impression that ITV were waiting for HD freeview strategy to become clearer before they commit to an extensive channel chain modification which, as people have pointed out, will include specific challenges such as regional variations in both programming and advertising. Technically, this is very do-able but is very much constrained by the logistics that are decided on from their production decisions. They are very right to tread carefully, but a lot of people will not appreciate that.


  28. peterhb Says:

    @derek500 comments:
    All the regional ITV broadcasts are currently on satellite. If you look on the non-freesat channels you will find most of them available (I occasionally watch some of the regional programmes this way).
    So in theory all ITV need to do here is code these transmissions to appear on the Freeesat EPG and they will be available (as per current BBC regional)
    I know there will be issues about bandwidth for HD simulcast, but if they have a national ITV1 HD and address regional programming by making the current transmissions available to the rest of freesat that will surely be a step in the right direction.


  29. monkeymaniac Says:


    Why have Freesat not brought out a magazine, surely another good avenue for promoting Freesat with channels, news, products, competitions and more.

    Just a thought.
    Regards Ernie.


  30. Nigel Whitfield Says:

    Magazines are not cheap to produce; they’re horrendously expensive – it’s the business I’ve been in for almost 20 years now.

    The reason Sky have a magazine is because it’s a handy accounting excuse to avoid VAT on a portion of their subscriptions. Freesat don’t have subscriptions; they’ve have to fund it entirely from sales; they’d need to generate lots of ad sales, and lots of subscribers or buyers to even break even.

    The TV listings market is pretty crowded; what could Freesat bring to it that would make people want to buy their mag, rather than anyone else’s? I can’t think of anything – and certainly not anything that would make money.

    What Freesat can do as a join venture is somewhat hampered by being part-owned by the BBC, too. The Trust would almost certainly not think it a brilliant idea for one BBC-owned company (Freesat) to launch a magazine competing directly against one owned by another (Radio Times, BBC Worldwide). Even if they thought it was a reasonable idea, other magazine companies would surely cry foul.


  31. Trevor Harris Says:

    In reply to Nigel Whitfield @ 23 most of what Tony posted was a copy of a previous post of mine. The info was obtained from a bandwidth study that was done for Ofcom and is available on thier site. The absolute maximun bit rate for DVB-T2 is 35.4 mbit/s but this mode has the minimum error correction. There is always a trade of between bit rate and error correction. Everyone is hoping that it will be ok but no one will know until public transmissions are done. The BBC experiments are performed with professional high quality equipment, the performance of domestic installations will not be as good. Just have a look round at peoples UHF aerials many are what the BBC call commercial quality and are often bent and wired up with cheap “low loss” coax.

    It must also be remembered that not all the bit rate is used for the video and sound streams. There are other stream which are transmitted so not all the bandwidth is available. Ofcom plans to put 5 HD channels on multiplex B so the bit rate is going to be very low.

    The BBC have just droped the bit rate on BBC HD on satellite and have been inundated by complaints. It is important that we all complain about this as the BBC will change its policy if it gets enough complaints. There was an outcry when the DAB bit rate on radio 3 was dropped and the BBC were forced to change thier minds,


  32. Nigel Whitfield Says:

    They dropped the bit rate last week, at the same time as the new encoder was added. Andy Quested has already mentioned in a post on DS that they’re still tweaking the settings.

    I think, perhaps, people should wait a couple of weeks before bombarding them with complaints – getting all uppity because they’ve not done every possible tweak within a couple of working days of installing a brand new bit of kit just comes across as ‘armchair experts’ whining about things they don’t understand.

    Don’t forget that at 35.4MBps, the DVB-T2 will still very likely be more robust than DVB-T with equivalent error correction. There are not any plans to put a 5th channel on the HD mux in the short term; by the time that happens (and it’s not certain that it will, in any case) encoders are likely to have improved still further.


  33. Paul Johnson Says:

    You may recall that ITV threatened to end terristrial (cant spell) broadcasting last year to gain a better deal for its news content. Perhaps this idea to reduce its tax burden. This could be one reason for extra HD on freestst /freeview


  34. shane Says:

    ITVHD (On Satellite)currently showing itv programmes upscaled with itvhd promo loop. Must be testing in preparation for full service on satellite.


  35. loughlin Says:

    I just have to join in YES YES YES Great news .


  36. Richard Crichton Says:


    What tuning parameters please?


  37. darnall 42 Says:

    Good News if it happens-Now What About 4HD 😉


  38. shane Says:

    11428 H 27500 2/3
    Currently back to usual “ITV hd no programme available”


  39. Mark Says:

    I have itv HD testing on by red button on freesat.


  40. Martin Says:

    How? I can’t get it on.


  41. Richard Crichton Says:


    Is it the channel listed as 10510?


  42. Martin Says:

    I went to it and it’s just black.


  43. shane Says:

    10510 is itv hd. now showing upscaled itv granada


  44. Derek Says:

    To help others my Humax stores 10510 at channel 5017 in non-Freesat mode, but as I type this I have a black screen.

    The new Panasonic stores it at Channel 166 (in a full search of all non-Freesat channels) but I am not sure if the Panasonic stores channels at random or whether it is the same for all units. The Panasonic does not like channel 166 (10510) at all and displays nothing, identifying it as a “data channel”.

    No doubt someone can explain this :-)


  45. Dave Says:

    Late tonight…checked ITV HD juts now and simulcasting as earlier…(using DVB Viewer Pro 4.2 via Windows 7)


  46. Dave Says:

    Late tonight…checked ITV HD just now and simulcasting as earlier…(using DVB Viewer Pro 4.2 via Windows 7)


  47. Trevor Harris Says:

    In reply to Nigel Whitfield@32
    Andy Quested Principal Technologist, HD, BBC FM&T has requested comments about the lower bit rates in his blog. We still don’t know why the BBC has chosen to do this.


  48. Richard Crichton Says:

    My Humax has done a scan at power on and removed a channel. Anyone know which one?
    10510 is just a blank screen. I have yet to see ITV-HD simulcasting. Can anyone explain why it is not visible on the Humax box?


  49. shane Says:


    One of the “international” channels left today. x something or other. Amalgamating with another channel.

    ITV HD not available through freesat mode on Humax. Something got to do with freesat formware i think. Only available on some FTA hd receivers and Sky hd box with new epg. I too have blank screen on Humax freesat box, but am receiving it loud and clear on Humax 2000 hd box and Skyhd box.


  50. shane Says:


    Ch 662 “9x” went today. And meant to say ITVHD not available in nonfreesat mode..


  51. Richard Crichton Says:

    Thanks Shane. Weird situation when you can get ITV-HD on every HD box except Freesat ones. It was supposed to be a Freesat exclusive channel but we all know that the only thing that was exclusive about it was the red button.


  52. Mark Says:

    Itv HD red button is active again in freesat mode


  53. Paul S Watts Says:

    Thanks Mark

    I have just tried it – and… works!!

    Upscaling is noticeable and overall picture is improvement on the SD Lunchtime news is almost worth watching. I will dip into this again later.



  54. Lee B Says:

    Just to confirm are we saying the red button is now working an all ITV 1 programming for freesat boxes and providing an upscaled picture?


  55. Mark Says:

    No, the red button was active for the lunchtime news, then switched back to sd for local news. Wait and see if Dickenson is upscaled.


  56. Richard Crichton Says:

    Its working on my Humax. Just press the red button.(There is no prompt)
    The upscaling is pretty impressive. The live news was very impressive. ‘Dickson’s Real Deal’ on now and is as good or slightly better than BBC SD.


  57. MJ Says:

    Pressing Red on he Bush HD does nothing for me, apart from tiring out my thumb!!!


  58. Richard Crichton Says:

    The red button only seems to work now and again. I changed channel and can’t get back in.


  59. Paul S Watts Says:


    Reversion to SD now. Mind you, I don’t believe any amount of upscaling would offer an improvement to Dickinson!!!!

    Will hop on and off during the afternoon to see if there is any pattern emerging as to what and when they are switching the facility on and off.


  60. Alex Says:

    I just tried on my Humax HDR, and its not working

    I do hope corri and monday monday are upscaled now 😀


  61. Derek Says:

    As an update to my post at 44, just tried the new Panasonic on Channel 10510 (which on my machine is “Non-Freesat Channel 166”) and the ITV HD sound is loud and clear. However the picture is blocked by a blue bar saying “Data Channel”.

    Come on Panasonic, sort this out with an upgrade – it’s crazy. :-(

    I will try the red button later.


  62. Martin Says:

    To be fair, the whole reason ITV HD is “freesat exclusive” is because of this hidden channel thing. So we shouldn’t grumble too much 😀


  63. Al Catraz Says:

    Derek – I got the same on my panny, but tuning to ITV 1 and hitting the red button took me to ITV HD with picture.


  64. Martin Says:

    Is the red button working now?


  65. Richard Crichton Says:


    No its not.


  66. Freesat Call For More HD Channels | Join Freesat Says:
  67. admin Says:

    Unfortunately it seems that ITV1 HD on Freesat might not be a done deal; official statement by ITV:

    We are currently looking at the options with regard to ITV’s HD service on Freesat.


  68. Jeff Says:

    Watching “Golden Balls” on 10510, the upscaled version is much better than the sd version on 103 (watching on a Sony Bravia full 1080). Will skip Granada Tonight, (no Lucy I see, is she back down here in London for the weekend National News)? Waiting in anticipation for the 6:30 Evening News, Emmerdale and the EUFA Super cup!


  69. Al Catraz Says:

    Last night’s HD broadcast had a new logo “ITV 1 HD”, so maybe things are moving in the right direction…


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