Standard Definition Migration on Satellite

The pace of conversion to high definition (HD) broadcasts is becoming quicker, with many changes upcoming that will largely render older standard definition Sky and Freesat boxes redundant.

Sky have been offering HD compatible boxes since 2008, with Freesat having similarly compatible boxes available from 2010. The changes are unlikely to impact many viewers, as most are likely to have upgraded in the 10 plus years that HD broadcasts have been around.

The BBC have already confirmed migration to HD only, and ITV are following not far behind, with ITV 3, ITV 4, and ITV Be to convert to HD. ITV Be HD will launch for the first time ahead of withdrawal of the standard definition version. ITV Be will become unavailable on standard definition boxes, but ITV 3 +1 and ITV 4 +1 will remain available in standard definition for the time being.

The last two ITV 1 regions to become available, Border Scotland HD and Channel Television HD, are also expected to launch on the 12th December, delayed from a planned launch in November. Tests are now underway.

Sky are going further. Sky Mix, a previously reported, replaced Pick on satellite, becoming HD only in the process. Sky, although still having some standard definition channels for lower subscription tiers, are converting over entirely to the DVB-S2 broadcast standard making their channels incompatible with standard definition only boxes. They are also removing the standard definition EPG, meaning non-HD Sky branded equipment will require manual tuning to work, and lose schedule data. Sky are offering a free upgrade to Sky Q for affected users.

Some smaller channels are also discontinuing standard definition broadcasts, whilst others such as GB News and Talk TV have been HD only since launch on satellite.