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"The decision has now been taken to reallocate spectrum at 600 MHz for
additional terrestrial television broadcast services and OFCOM is tasked
with the preparatory work leading up to the auction of this spectrum."
September 2011 - Arqiva Reference Offer prepared for OFCOM
Q2 2012 - Government holds Spectrum Auction
Q3 2012 new licences issued
Q3 2016 - Arqiva antenna works completed at Main Stations
The idea of trying to squeeze 5 HDchannels into a multiplex is really bad. Because of the current bandwidth limitations the BBC only transmits 1440x1080 instead of the full HD 1920x1080. A reduction in bitrate will certainly reduce the quality even more. The BBC will say that encoder improvements will compensate but certainly not enough.
I think it will be very optimistic to believe that all these channels will be filled by so called free television. The quality of BBC programs has certainly deteriated over the last year. Just look at the number of repeats being shown this week. Most of the new programs are cheap rubish. The abandoment of F1 is another example of dumbing down.
I would certainly expect the Sky Sports HD channels to be available. And on that bomb shell I will say goodbye.
You can actual see this was going to happen in the next few years after switchover. I receive my channels through Belmont and since it also started broadcasting digital signals, there have been 11 frequencies used 5 analogue & 6 digital.
Now we have gone back to 6 frequencies again you would of thought what they would do with the other 5. Plus Freeview desperately needs more capacity due to the compression of a lot of channels.
Now if they broadcast and use on all the frequencies using the newer DVB-T2 MPEG4 system by 2016. I bet on it that by about 2020 the rest of the DVB-T channels will cease to be broadcasted and switched to DVB-T2. Hence another switchover on equipment like I was saying earlier. When people are only just buying equipment for this switchover still with only the DVB-T spec.
The DVB-T MPEG2 spec has been broadcasting here since 1998. Over the next 5-10 years I would say DVB-S broadcasting on satellite will go the same way and completely switch to DVB-S2 MPEG4.
Actually Brian I looked at you reference and I could not find any thing about 5 channels in it.
Computing power is not really the problem here. It is a question of encoding quality which has certainly been increasing over the last few years. But the improvements that can be made are limited by the requirement to hold to the H264 specifications. In my view any improvements should be used to upgrade to 1920x1440.
I notice you have not mentioned 3D which must surely be a part of any expansion.