After a year of conversions, by Christmas all our main free-to-air channels will be in HD with the ABC going HD from December.
While it might seem a frustrating delay, it’s a difficult thing to do within a network, there’s large expense on the broadcast equipment side, and there’s the discussion about how to break up and allocate the valuable TV spectrum they have.
For the most part, Nine led the way with a switch to MPEG-4 as a HD transmission standard. This new format only works on newer TVs so not everyone can watch it, but it takes up less transmission space and allows a standard definition channel to be broadcast as well.
In the case of the ABC, from December, Channel 2 will be Standard Definition, Channel 20 will be HD, and Channel 24 ABC News will switch from HD down to SD.
A good move, but interestingly, not one many consumers seem to care about. While viewer numbers are not specifically available for these channels, looking at viewer habits on Fetch TV where the free-to-air usage is logged in real-time, it’s a small percentage opting for HD over SD – most likely out of force of habit given the channel numbers.
Oh, and for those wanting for 4K – don’t put your house on it. There’s no additional revenue available in a better quality broadcast, and 4K currently would mean broadcasting one channel and no others – that ain’t happening folks. 4K is for Pay TV, Movies and Streaming – simple as that.
Details and FAQ available on the ABC Website