HD platform differentiation

17 November 2010

A large gap has opened up between the different platforms in the five years since HD launched in the UK, with the pay-TV platforms – above all Sky – gaining a large lead over the free-to-air satellite and terrestrial platforms

With HD Ready TV sets now counting for almost half the total population of TV sets in the UK, the big issue facing the free-to-air platforms is the number of channels, where Sky (now 52 HD channels) and Virgin Media (now 28 HD channels) are expanding their lead over the free-to-air platforms Freeview (now 4 channels) and Freesat (now 3 channels)

Freeview in particular offers no clear evolutionary pathway beyond five channels in the next five years, except through acquisition of more capacity in the coming spectrum auction, where the outcome is very uncertain or via streamed high capacity broadband, which faces significant challenges in building penetration

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