Campaign to bring free HD kicks off

Millions of consumers with HD TVs may never be able enjoy high definition TV on the Freeview platform

High definition TV may soon be available to everyone - if one campaign group gets its way. HDforAll is calling for the analogue TV spectrum to be used for HD broadcasts, once the switchover to digital TV viewing is complete in 2012.

However HDforAll is facing stiff competition from mobile phone networks who want to use the spectrum for more 3G services. Ofcom isn't helping the group either. The government and telecoms regulator says it wants to sell off the spectrum to the highest bidder, a deal that could net the government £10 billion in revenue - the so-called 'digital dividend'.

The HDforAll group consists of broadcasters and TV manuacturers. These include the BBC , Channel 4 , ITV , Five , Sony , Samsung , Toshiba and Alba .

Noble intentions

High definition content isn't available on Freeview currently because there's simply no spectrum available that can handle HD's large bandwidth requirements. If HD content were added now it would have to be at the expense of existing digital TV channels. The only other way to get HD now is via digital satellite or cable with Sky and Virgin Media .

While HDforAll's band of brothers is a loyal show of force for the UK TV-loving public, each undoubtedly has much to gain if free-to-air HD becomes a reality.

The BBC wants it as part of its public service remit, while TV manufacturers will most likely sell many more HD screens and set-top boxes.

BBC terrestrial HD trial

The BBC is currently broadcasting a special HD trial in the Greater London region only. Users who signed up for the trial, and live within the Crystal Palace transmitter, received a special decoder box to enable them to watch the programmes shown.

Since the BBC has already started to film in high-definition, there is a great deal of content on the trial; including Planet Earth, Bleak House and Torchwood. The trial is due to end this summer.