Following the recent announcement by the BBC that it will launch five new HD channels by early 2014, communications infrastructure and media services company Arqiva has announced that Al Jazeera, the global news and current affairs channel, is to be made available to more than 50 per cent of UK households through Al Jazeera English HD, proceeding Ofcom’s awarding of two new HD Digital Terrestrial TV multiplexes to Arqiva in July 2013.
“Our partnership with Arqiva lets us provide the highest quality journalism with the highest quality picture and technical standards,” says Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English. “This means our viewers will have an even clearer picture of our in-depth eyewitness reporting from our seventy bureaus across the globe, and of our documentaries and programmes on the issues that matter to people in the UK.”
Meanwhile, over at Arqiva, Director of Digital Platforms Mike Finchen thinks these new channels mark a major advance for HD, with one third of Freeview DTT homes currently able to enjoy HD – a figure thought likely to exceed 80 per cent by 2018. “We believe these new HD channels will provide a major impetus to the continued and strong uptake of Freeview HD TVs,” says Finchen. “This is an exciting first step in the launch of more HD channels on Freeview.”