There is speculation mounting today that ITV’s new HD (high definition) channel will be exclusive to the Freesat platform.
Test transmissions for ITV HD are now being broadcast on Eurobird 1 (11.428 GHz – H – 27/5) and service ID 10510. However, the stream is not viewable on Sky Digiboxes, nor generic FTA receivers, as the video stream is being broadcast as H.222 data rather than using the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec commonly supported by such receivers and used by existing high definition channels such as BBC HD.
As it stands, indications show on the Freesat receiver that the ITV HD channel will be accessed through the Interactive service from the SD ITV channel. This would certainly help confirm the above, but as a date for launch of the ITV HD channel has not been announced, anything could change.
The question stands, would ITV really consider restricting access from all Sky and generic receivers to make this a Freesat exclusive? Sky currently have 500,000 HD subscribers, with many more expected in the future with reductions in prices expected in June. There is also an estimated similar figure of non-subscription HD viewers, accessing via various receivers all available free HD channels.
Could we see BBC HD going the same way? It has been suggested in the past.