back to article Channel 5 snubs Freeview HD again

Channel 5 is giving up on filling a Freeview HD channel, so fans of Celebrity Wedding Planner will just have to live with standard definition. Or go to Virgin or Sky for its Channel 5 HD offering. The intention had been for an HD version of Channel 5 to fit into Freeview from April 2012, but the broadcaster has now notified …


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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Markets and prices

    Our current government is dominated by the party that believes in the free market, so I expect they'll completely ignore this evidence that there isn't a market for extra channels and they'll find some way to force them on us anyway, at our expense.

    1. dotdavid


      But if they believe in a "free" market, why would they force anything on anyone?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Because they "believe" in it, but have demonstrated *many* times over my lifetime that they don't understand it.

        Random case in point. Take one electricity generation industry. Impose a carbon tax on nuclear plants, but fail to require carbon capture on fossil plants, all in the name of global warming. Then express surprise that the only economic technology is the one you've implicitly subsidised to the tune of several billion per year. Then force all providers to buy back outrageously overpriced electricity from small-holders, whether they want it or not, and express utter astonishment that this cost is simply passed on to customers.

        Random case in point. Take one railway, break it into a dozen pieces, write contracts that offer guaranteed subsidies and no penalties for crap performance. Then wait. Then express surprise that all the incumbent providers are crap and rich.

        Random case in point. Take one education system. Farm out the task of setting exams to private bodies, who then compete for schools' business by offering "more attractive" exams. Then express surprise that results go up year on year for a couple of decades whilst teachers are invited to seminars where they can learn what might come up in the exam.

        Random case in point. Having inherited a banking system that collapsed because there were no penalties for betting someone else's farm on a lame horse, bail out the losing bankers but offer no comparable help to the prudent ones who are still solvent. Then express surprise that you're broke and the banking system is still paying out huge bonuses to the same idiots as before for taking the same risks.

        I'll stop there, except to re-iterate that for a party which claims to believe in the free market, they haven't a clue about the importance of letting losers lose, the importance of maintaining a level playing field, and the phenomenon of getting *only* and *exactly* what you ask for.

    2. Spoonsinger

      "ignore this evidence that there isn't a market for extra channels"

      Well dah, in the same way that whichever advertising regulatory body whose job it is, is ignoring those "Freeview" adverts which states everything is free, (slightly ignoring the fact that you need a TV licence which isn't free).

      Anyway I miss the days when you could tell an American production by it's orange hue.

      1. yeahyeahno


        Everything has a context, and in the context of TV in the UK, Freeview is indeed free. The licence fee is a tax payable to a government body, regardless of the mechanism you use for watching TV.

        So to watch TV at all costs £145.50 minimum, it's a tax, whether you watch online, satellite, aerial or cable.

        To watch Freeview costs nothing extra unless you have or want to purchase extra hardware.

        To watch Sky costs at least £32.25 pcm to £84.50 which increases if you want or need to purchase extra hardware.

  2. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    Perhaps its not that "we have enough television already"

    But we have enough "Channel 5" already. I can't say I've ever heard anyone say "You know what I need to make my life complete, the same shows that I already watch on Channel 5, but in more visual detail".

  3. Dave Wray
    Paris Hilton

    Until the Gadget Show is in HD....

    .......And the pure foxiness which is Pollyanna Woodward is displayed on the my screen in glorious HD, there is no point in having any Channel Five HD!

    1. OrsonX
      Thumb Down

      Gadget Show...

      ....has had it's day I think.

      How many more tech challenges can they concoct?

      What used to be a very witty rapport between the team is now very forced, and as for Polly.... she's like cardboard.

    2. Andy Scott
      Thumb Up

      You already get Channel 5 in HD on Virgin and I'll say Pollyanna Woodward looks even better in HD

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Check her out on Channel 5 HD via Sky or Virgin, yum ;)

      1. Dave Wray

        I still dont think she's in HD though???

        I may be wrong, i frequently am, but I dont think Gadget show on 5HD is actially in, err HD???

        1. CmdrX3
          Thumb Down

          Is The Gadget Show still on? Anytime I view the timeslot it used to be on there seems to be an hour long iPhone advert on instead. Funny thing is, it's the same people in the iPhone advert that used to do The Gadget Show. Oh well, maybe they'll bring a new gadget program out that concentrates on gadgets rather than things the iPhone/iPad can do, things the iPhone/iPad can control, things that fit onto the iPhone/iPad, things that the iPhone/iPad can fit onto....... and hoverboats (that can probably be controlled with an iPhone/iPad).

          1. Sartori

            Yep, if it ever goes back to reviewing just gadgets instead being an Apple advertisement show or reviewing bikes, toys and other crap that plainly aren't gadgets in the slightest I might watch it again. Stunned anyone watches it still.

  4. johnnymotel
    Thumb Down

    CH5 bit rates suck!

    Was watching Groundhog on 5* or something, simply awful blockiness on transitions and anything other than stock still shots. Looks like they are transmitting the absolute bare minimum.

    Maybe they need to improve their SD offerings first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      thats freeview, which is piss poor compared to virgin of sky (area dependant but generally speaking) Channel 5 itself is one of the best sd channels on sky(for picture quality) and the hd version is equally good. 5* is completely fine via virgin, not that much on there is worth watching mind you so you're not missing out...

      1. yeahyeahno
        Thumb Down

        Sky piss poor

        One of the reasons I stopped my subs to Sky was because I couldn't get over how poor their picture quality was, Freeview wins out in nearly every case (things may have changed with HD, perhaps, but for years Sky fed us crap quality pictures).

        1. L.B.

          That must be just you then.

          There are some channels on sky that are very low bit rate; but avoid the god/shopping/bingo/etc...channels and the bit rates are far better than freeview.

          As for HD, it will never make a bad movie/program good, and apart from a few things that are specifically visual (eg: frozen planet) it does not add much of anything. Seeing Cameron Diaz (and others) spotty faces covered in pancake makeup or pointless exploding car #12 in HD really adds nothing.

          A good script works on radio, a not-so good script works better with pictures, a cr*p script will always be cr*p.

        2. Sartori

          Ah, I wouldn't know about Freeview picture quality, have a receiver in my TV set but no signal, Sky it is for me, not through choice.

  5. probedb

    Film4 HD?

    Maybe if we had something like Film4 in HD it'd be more useful? Even ITV 3 HD would be better than Channel 5 in HD ;)

    1. lee harvey osmond


      I myself would love any forthcoming Freeview HD channel allocation to be decided by beauty contest rather than by auction, andI can think of two existing Freeview channels that show content which would benefit hugely from HD, Film4 and ITV4.

      That's not to say I wouldn't want to watch first-run Fifth Gear in HD, because I would. [Is it me, or are VB-H's hemlines getting shorter?] On the other hand, I sometimes forget for months on end that E4 exists.

    2. tmTM

      Most Sensible thing

      I've heard all day.

      I can see we will end up with BBC1 HD +1 at this rate.

  6. John Miles 1

    Shared HD channel

    So if no broadcaster (that doesn't have a TV license income) can justify having their own HD channel all to themselves, then why not run it as a "shared channel" that they can pay to slot in occasional programs or series. A sort of HD mix or sampler channel.

  7. technohead95
    Thumb Down


    Boo to Channel 5.

  8. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Digital TV: Huge Choice...............

    .................but nothing worth choosing

  9. ph0b0s

    Analisis Fail....

    "Given the government's absolute belief that we're all crying out for six new HD channels at 600MHz, not to mention desperate to watch local TV, one has to wonder why an existing HD channel isn't more desirable - surely it's not possible that we have enough television already?"

    If there was not a market for HD, how come there are so many channels (including ones shown on freeview in SD) on Sky and Cable that are in HD?

    What really happened here is that this slot was always reserved for 5, hence why they have had two bites of the cherry. Now the slot will go up for sale for everyone and will get snapped up pretty quickly.

    The real question is about 5 and their finances rather than HD. And if the issue was with HD then it is with the price of the freeview HD Slot rather than HD in general.

    The idea that people don't want more HD channels on Freeview is the dumbest thing I have heard all year.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    C5 in HD would be nice for CSI I suppose - and football.

    Film4 in HD would certainly be nice however I reckon the BBC could make great use of it for the Olympics... they could even use it as a dedicated 3D channel.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Channel 5 is still going?

  12. James Hughes 1

    Why has nobody asked

    How much more expensive it is to run HD over SD - is the transmission cost higher? Are the programme costs higher? Both? Is it the same cost to transmit, but they now have two channels to pay for?

    re: Gadget Show. I don't care if its in HD or SD. It still sucks donkey balls.

  13. Rich 2

    Who gives a shite?

    Channel 5 is the worse TV channel ever to grace our airwaves. On the VERY few occasions when they have shown anything that's actually worth watching, they make it unwatchable anyway by their constant advertising. And I just LOVE interrupting that program I was watching so that I have a chance to spend 10 minutes watching the latest celeb gossip tripe, before being passed back to the original program! I mean, WHY can't they put the celeb gossip at the END of the current program? Or not at all? "Shit" comes nowhere close to describing Ch 5.

    Counting the days til Ch 5 goes bust and falls off the air.

    1. yeahyeahno

      I watch Channel 5 for

      Law & Order




      I know C5 don't make those shows, they are all bought in, but I like them and I see no more adverts than I do on ITV, and I don't remember them being interrupted for celebrity gossip either.

      1. Test Man

        But the films on Channel 5 ARE interrupted by celeb gossip.

        What really annoys me is that they can't schedule their programmes properly, meaning that if you're using a DVR you constantly miss the beginning and/or end of the programme. It wouldn't be so bad if they changed the now/next info only when the programme is starting, like BBC, ITV and Channel 4 do (which is what DVRs use to know when to start recording) but they don't and as a consequence I usually find that when they do change the now/next info, the programme has already started 3 mins prior.

  14. SeanK

    We need to be moving towards HD by default

    99.54% * of the UK have HD Ready TVs. Isn't about time we had some HD content broadcast, even if its the same old crapola thats available on SD. At least it will be HD crapola.

    *Statistics have been made up.

  15. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    I agree with the posting above - improve the SD bandwidth before putting more replication on HD ...

    I feel the SD transmission quality is being degraded to show 'how brilliant' the new HD technology is ...

  16. AndrueC Silver badge

    No great loss. There's - what - less than a quarter of their shows in HD? Last year they couldn't even premier the various CSIs in HD. They don't even seem able to update their studios or adverts.

  17. Richard Lloyd

    Channel 5+1 anyone?

    I'm surprised neither the article nor any of the comments so far have mentiond the utterly pointless Channel 5+1 channel that launched a few week ago. When many DVRs have twin tuners, the usefulness of any +1 channel rapidly heads towards zero. So that's *two* SD Channel 5's and *zero* HD Channel 5's then. Mind you, with Channel 5 having virtually nothing worth watching, even zero Channel 5's overall wouldn't upset me too much.

    1. Steve 48

      Actually the +1 channels are useful (on Sky at least) - occasionally when channel hopping I stumble across something interesting half way through a program - if it's a channel with a +1 partner I can watch the +1 version. Plus it's sods law that on the increasingly rare occasions when there is something on worth watching there's two other programs on at the same time that I want to watch or record.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Although most PVRs have dual tuners there can often be more than two things on at once. 9pm to 11pm is particularly prone to this in our household. +1 channels can be very useful for working around that. There are no +1 HD channels and sometimes we feel the lack. In most cases the broadcaster has a later viewing we can go for instead but then people whine about all the repeats.

      I suppose for us personally +1 is less useful just because we watch so little SD material these days - in fact now I think about it once Alibi HD fires up we won't be watching any SD channels at all. Still - for those stuck on SD I'd imagine that +1 channels continue to offer some value.

  18. Richard Jones 1

    More Quality Content First

    Given that most evenings it is hard to find anything to watch, why should we have more channels, let alone more HD channels to allow us to watch ever poorer programmes in ever clearer(?) detail.

    At the moment 2/3s of my TVs are said to be HD ready but for what? I can see no reason to justify buying a HD receiver to activate the HD option. The PCs remain standard definition and are likely to stay that way for, - well, for ever.

  19. JDX Gold badge

    @Richard Lloyd

    +1 channels are great. We can record two things at once and watch a third and yet we STILL often watch +1 for two reasons:

    1)We turn on and find something has already started which we would like to watch

    2)Recording conflicts mean recording the +1 version can be really useful

  20. davenewman
    Paris Hilton

    Xena on HD

    Bring back Xena to Channel 5, and put her on HD.

  21. Jelliphiish

    virmin mediocre sd bandwidth

    is feckin attrocious. for any and all SDchannels. blocky as fuuuuuck. like watching the Lego version of a program through a pair of tights.

    i can't watch much on the 'SD' channels now without wanting to hurt small fluffy things.

    i should take it as read that virmin are charging the other people using their pipe vastly higher costs for the HD throughput? or are Auntie and the rest too tight fisted to stump up for a bigger pipe for all of it?

    i have a vague recollaction that it has something to do with the head end and demand in an area.. but why does that apply to pretty much everything 'sd'? primetime Stricktly in sd was an abomination.. properly unwatchable.

    also, what's with virmin wanting to charge you fifty notes to enable the hd channels that are normally free to air if you have a hd stb? that's just wrong. pussbags.

    as is probably apparent, i don't know enough about this kind of thing..


    1. Test Man
      Thumb Down

      Sorry, I couldn't understand your rant because you refused to use the proper name for the company or names of programmes, instead substituting it for some lame word in the same juvenile way as some people do with Microsoft (M$), Apple (Crapple), Sony ($ony), etc.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Delivering Quality Fifth (Filth? no, not even under Desmond...)

    "the +1 channels are useful "

    Are you *seriously* telling me that the programme wouldn't have been on again a few days later anyway, at a time when you could have set the PVR to record it (and then never watch it...), or is it just that it was too hard to resist watching there and then on the +1?

    BBC3 and BBC4 are even worse, they could do a whole evening's output in a couple of hours most days. They just repeat the same shows three or four times an evening, and then again a few weeks later. Not that their commercial equivalents are much better (Grand Designs 5 evenings a week on More4, then the same 5 shows in a row on a Saturday pm, in case you missed them during the week...).

    Choice. What a concept.

    Do other countries with DVB have as many +1 channels as we have in the UK?

    1. Test Man

      Yes. Not everyone has time to go watching something later on during the week. Not only that, not all programmes are repeated later on in the week. When you can find the latest episodes of Come Dine With Me, Coach Trip, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Strictly Come Dancing, David Attenborough's documentaries or the latest Champions League football match (all examples) shown later on in the week then your point MIGHT be valid.

      What a silly comment by "Anonymous Coward" (Deliverying Quality Filth)...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Test Card Man appears not to have heard of "series link", available on all modern PVRs, a feature which saves him looking at the schedule for all the programmes he mentions (not sure about the footy?). Combine that with "chase play" (?) also available on all modern PVRs and you can watch the start of the program without needing to wait and rewind the tape.

        Why should the inevitably-limited broadcast bandwidth be used to serve folks forgetfulness and/or scroogefulness instead, being wasted on repeats of stuff shown a few minutes ago, stuff which will mostly be legitimately be downloadable shortly afterwards (footy excluded?).

        That bandwidth *could* in principle be used to offer actual "choice" to Freeview punters. Maybe proper Discovery, or maybe Sky Arts, for example, markets currently only served by cable and satellite. Might even increase the revenue for the broadcasters.

        Happy new year.

  23. Harmless

    It's time for HD to be standard for the main channels

    At the moment we have to compromise on screen size, 37" for my lounge is OK so I don't see the blockiness of SD, but it's wasting the resolution of HD which could fill 50" or more and keep me happy. If BBC1,2,3,ITV,4,5 were all HD then I could buy a bigger set, enjoy the full promise of HD and ignore SD which would look pants on such a big screen.

    Here we are in 2012 soon, and TV sets have outpaced the actual transmission quality! SD should be buried as soon as possible.

    1. Test Man
      Thumb Down

      No one is stopping you from buying a 50" set. Just get one - no need to cut off your nose to spite your face ("I'll force myself to watch a smaller screen because I don't want to watch 50" SD footage" a silly thing to say).

      At the moment you're watching 37" SD footage. 50" SD footage (although it risks looking blocky but that depends on how good the scaler in your TV set or box is) is clearly better than looking at a smaller screen so just get it!

  24. Cyclist

    IITV > 1

    You won't see ITV2, 3 & 4 in HD on FTA as that falls outside of ITV's business model, that the additional channels in HD are available only on pay-TV.

    Film4 would be the best option rather than fobbing the capacity off to a channel that has a small proportion of HD content to deliver.

  25. This Side Up

    Channel 5

    God, is that still going?

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