The BBC has confirmed a timetable that will bring high-definition Freeview channels to half of the UK before the World Cup next year, in June. The timetable will also make high-definition Freeview available to 98.5 percent of the UK population by 2012, when the digital switchover is complete.
According to a press release by the BBC (via TechRadar), viewers in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Bradford and Birmingham should be receiving Freeview HD by the end of March 2010. From January 2010, viewers can find out what HD services they can get through a postcode search on the Freeview website, but if you want to find out when it's due to be released in your area, you can check the press release here.
The new DVB-T2 technology, which is going to be used, offers a 67 percent capacity increase to the BBC's Multiplex B, allowing HD transmissions over the air. The only downside to this is that viewers who want to receive the high-definition channels will need a Freeview HD receiver, which will be available in the form of set-top boxes and integrated television receivers from the beginning of next year.
"This is a terrific step forward, and it's a great achievement that the BBC and its partners have been able to work together to overcome some really difficult technical challenges to bring HD to the Freeview platform through world-leading innovation," said Caroline Thomson, Chief Operating Officer at the BBC.
"We're really excited about the prospect of seeing BBC HD and HD channels from the other public service broadcasters on Freeview next year."