ofcomOfcom has raised no objections to a full launch of BBC HD, the BBC’s high definition channel currently under trial.
As part of the public value test currently being applied to the channel, Ofcom is required to carry out a market impact assessment.
It found that the proposed mixed genre service broadcasting for up to 4 hours a day initially and up to 9 hours a day by late next year, would have no overall negative market impact.

Ofcom said that BBC HD “is likely to deliver consumer benefit through increased take-up of HD” and “seems likely to support the relative position of the DTT platform in the longer term” along with similar benefits for satellite and cable services.
It warned, however, that potential benefits to the digital terrestrial platform would be negated post-digital switchover were the BBC forced to transmit only a four hour service on DTT compared to a full nine hour service on satellite and cable.
The regulator added that BBC HD would likely drive take-up of MPEG-4 capable set top boxes, leading to eventual “spectrum efficiency” benefits if it permitted an earlier introduction of MPEG-4 standard definition channels.

BBC HD’s impact on commercial broadcasting was also found to be generally positive. It is understood that the UK’s major commercial broadcasters told Ofcom that the channel would “strengthen the commercial rationale for HD broadcasting” and would likely “accelerate the pace at which other public service broadcasters move into HD broadcasting”.
Ofcom advised, however, that the BBC Trust should enforce a service licence regulation mandating that BBC HD remain mixed genre in nature; in essence, preventing it from showing a high number of movies in competition with Sky’s high definition movie channels.

The BBC Trust’s own public value assessment found that BBC HD would deliver a “medium to high level of public value” and that “a significant proportion of the audience would value the proposed service.” Like Ofcom, it said that BBC should run for nine hours on digital terrestrial as it will on digital satellite and cable.
The channel’s launch now depends on the full verdict of the BBC Trust’s public value test, which is expected in November.

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By Expat