Engineering work has been taking place to allow Freeview HD to offer fully regional TV for the first time in its 13 year history.
In March 2010, Freeview HD made its official public debut, three months after a trade launch in the North West. With the launch of ITV1 HD on the platform, Freeview HD was regionalised based on ITV’s macro advertising regions in England and BBC nations in Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland had a unique set up based on ITV broadcasting in the Border region and STV across the rest of the nation.
Little changed over the course of more than a decade, with the BBC, the operator of the main Freeview HD multiplex, pushing back regional BBC One HD rollout plans on multiple occasions.
But then, in January, engineering work began to split the Freeview HD service into additional regions. Earlier this month, the Midlands were split into two. Meanwhile, Yorkshire and East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire were spun off from the rest of Northern England. These changes were not visible to viewers.
These upgraded areas join the already standalone London and Channel Islands regions to become the first areas to enjoy their local BBC One in HD from Wednesday 22nd March.
London was already a standalone region to allow Freeview to carry ITV1 HD London. Channel Islands had its own copy of the Freeview HD multiplex which omits ITV1 Channel Television, which is not available in high definition. As a result, the work to add regional BBC One in HD in these two areas was more straightforward.
The Freeview HD service is yet to be fully regionalised in the south, south-west or east of England. These areas are due to be upgraded behind the scenes in the coming weeks. Then, at the end of April, BBC One HD rollout will complete.