5hdChannel 5’s HD service on Sky is no longer a free-to-view (Freesat from Sky). Since its launch in July 2010, Channel 5 HD has been available as a free-to-view channel, which was available to all Sky HD viewers, regardless of which channels they subscribed to. The service is now being marketed as part of Sky’s Entertainment Extra pack, meaning that viewers without a subscription to this package, who previously were able to watch Channel 5 HD are being presented with an upgrade screen.

The rules governing HD simulcasts of SD channels covered under the Communications Act as PSB channels are being reviewed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as reported here on the 30th July 2013. Under the proposals, HD simulcasts of the main five channels would receive the same prominence as the standard definition channels, which have to be offered channels 1-5 on all digital TV platforms. The rules governing Channel 3 and 5 standard definition services, including Channel 3 regional programming and Channel 5 programming obligations would be applied to the HD versions in time. However, before any changes are made, all stakeholders including the broadcasters, Ofcom and digital TV platform operators will be consulted.

Channel 5 twice turned down an HD slot on digital terrestrial television (DTT) / Freeview HD, and recently lost what could have been its channel number on Freeview HD, when channel 105 was allocated to the forthcoming BBC Three HD channel. However, the broadcaster did state in a Digital UK consultation earlier this year that it was “committed to launching Channel 5 HD on the DTT platform within the next few years.”

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By Expat