The proposed BBC service
1.4 In March 2007, the BBC Executive applied to the BBC Trust for permission to introduce a new HDTV channel. It would be a mixed-genre channel, drawing from content across the BBC’s channels, and would aim to meet the BBC’s public purposes. The channel would be available free-to-view, and would carry no advertising.
1.5 The BBC Executive is seeking approval to provide a service of nine hours per day, 15:00 to midnight, with some flexibility to extend beyond this to allow for the coverage of significant live sport or other events. At launch, the channel would offer a schedule of three to four hours per day, building to nine hours in late 2008. Virtually all the content (more than 95% of the schedule) will be HD versions of programmes broadcast in standard definition on other BBC channels
1.6 The intention is to make the HD channel available on digital satellite, digital cable and digital terrestrial television. The BBC Executive may also make the channel, or content from it, available on the internet, subject to value for money considerations and as technology allows. This could be through both bbc.co.uk and internet protocol TV providers.
1.7 The BBC Executive has identified two mutually exclusive options for digital terrestrial television (DTT): the full nine-hour schedule or a four-hour schedule overnight between 0200 and 0600.
1.8 The BBC Executive application states that the four-hour overnight schedule would be offered ahead of digital switchover (DSO) and possibly after switchover if insufficient spectrum capacity were available during the transmission hours of the nine-hour schedule.
1.9 Under the option where sufficient spectrum capacity becomes available following digital switchover, the four-hour overnight schedule on DTT would be replaced by the same nine-hour service as provided over the cable and satellite platforms.
1.10 The four-hour overnight schedule would offer selected highlights from the following day’s nine-hour schedule on cable and satellite. In order to provide capacity for this at launch, the BBC Executive proposes to take down the following services from Freeview between the hours of 0200 and 0600:
- BBC Four until close-down;
- BBC Parliament, when broadcast;
- two BBCi interactive video streams (accessed through the red button on remote controls);
- the BBCi interactive news loop (also accessed through the red button – for the avoidance of doubt, BBC News 24 would not be affected).