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2017: End of the road for standard definition TVs as Freeview embarks on all HD future

Posted December 22, 2016 - Press Releases

London, Thursday 22nd December 2016; High definition TV will become the norm in the UK from 1st January 2017 as the Freeview logo is withdrawn from new SD TVs and set-top boxes.

Freeview Managing Director, Guy North, said it was a ‘landmark moment’ in the evolution of UK television and would pave the way for further improvements in picture quality, including Ultra HD.

Together with Digital UK and the DTG, Freeview has been working with television manufacturers and retailers to encourage the take-up of HD equipment to deliver the best viewing experience for consumers and a more efficient technical standard. From 1 January 2017, no new standard definition TV equipment will be permitted to use the Freeview logo on products, packaging or on-screen. Freeview is the UK’s most widely used TV service, currently watched in 19m homes.

The withdrawal of the Freeview logo from new SD products, announced in 2015, has already helped drive a 36% drop in sales of SD TVs while HD sales have surged to make up 80% of the six million TVs sold in the UK every year. [1]

Guy North said: “Moving Freeview to a fully HD product line-up is a landmark moment for the UK market and continues our track record of striving to deliver the best subscription-free TV service. I’m delighted we are playing our part in making the best picture quality available to everyone and are already gearing up for UHD standards which will be offered in the Freeview Play technical specification from next year.”

Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO of the DTG added: “‘The DTG has long been a supporter of the wider adoption of HD, giving consumers better quality viewing especially with the average TV screen size in homes increasing over recent years. This is a great step taken by Freeview which will deliver real benefits for UK TV viewers.”

Freeview has boosted its HD channel line up significantly in 2015 with 15 channels now available to the majority of UK viewers. The new channels include Channel 5 HD which launched on LCN 105 in May this year.

[1] These figures have been provided by GfK, a trusted source of consumer and market information. Its figures cover approximately 94% of total market volume for television, set-top boxes and DVD & Blu-ray players (where the remaining 6% is the estimated size of sales from untracked areas). The sales figures include any model that has an inbuilt Freeview digital terrestrial tuner, whether or not the product itself is Freeview-branded.

This change applies to new equipment only. Legacy SD equipment will still be able to access Freeview channels. No viewers will experience a loss of service.

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