Freeview HD is set to get five channels by the year 2013, with a fourth channel possibly on the way as early as 2010.

The news comes courtesy of What Satellite and Digital TV magazine, which reports that:

"Trials of the combined DVB-T2 and MPEG-4 transmission standard have revealed that it is up to 50 per cent more efficient than current DVB-T/MPEG-2 standards, instead of the 30 per cent improvement expected."

But hang on a second. What does that actually mean?

Ofcom's Greg Bensberg has explained that it means a fourth high def Freeview TV channel could be available "in some regions" as early as next year.

Broadcaster's HD beauty contest

At the current rate of tech development, Bensberg estimates that there will be enough capacity for a fifth Freeview HD channel by 2013.

The first three Freeview HD channels - from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 - will launch in the Granada region later this year, with London and four other regions soon to follow suit in early 2010.

Five HD will be the fourth channel to arrive, with "the final HD channel to be decided by a 'beauty contest' between broadcasters' proposals."

Via blog.wotsat.com