Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Updates on the BBC One HD nations and BBC Two HD

BBC One HD for the nations is coming
 Viewers of BBC One in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will probably be pleased to hear that variants of BBC One HD which are specific to those nations are on track to launch very soon.

Writing on her blog yesterday, Alix Pryde (Director of BBC Distribution) said that these versions will be launched "over the next few months". Currently, there is just one version of BBC One HD available, which covers the whole of the UK. Therefore, no regional content is currently available on the channel - during such programming, BBC One HD either displays a place-holder screen asking viewers to switch to their regional BBC One channel, or a sequence of clips from the channel's high definition shows is broadcast, with a caption along the bottom informing viewers of the regional content currently airing on BBC One.

While viewers of BBC One HD in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will soon be seeing an end to this, with their regional shows available on the channel, the same cannot yet be said for viewers in England, which is divided into no less than twelve separate regions. Therefore, launching a version of BBC One HD for each of those will be a far more costly and technically complex undertaking.

...and so is BBC Two HD, but not as
soon as thought!
The same blog post also briefly touches upon the forthcoming BBC Two HD (which is expected to replace the existing BBC HD channel), revealing that the HD simulcast of that channel has been delayed until 2013.

Pryde mentions that "plans announced earlier this year to convert BBC HD into BBC Two HD are progressing towards completion next year". While this is good news in some respects, it does place a question mark over HD content from channels other than BBC One and BBC Two. Until such time as HD simulcasts of BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC et al. are launched, HD broadcasts of shows from these channels will have to wait until the programmes are repeated on BBC One or BBC Two.

Additionally, the replacement of BBC HD with BBC Two HD also casts doubt on future 3D broadcasts from the BBC. In the past, events such as Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012, the London 2012 Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, the 2011 final of Strictly Come Dancing and this year's Last Night of the Proms have been broadcast in side-by-side 3D format on BBC HD for viewers with 3D-enabled televisions, while a 2D HD feed has been provided simultaneously on BBC One HD. Once BBC HD has been converted into a simulcast of BBC Two, though, this will not be possible.

Information on the launch dates of the BBC One HD nations and BBC Two HD will be reported here as they are revealed.

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