Exciting news in the world of digital television with the Ten Network announcing that they are going to be the first commercial network in Australia to offer a separately-programmed high-definition channel.
TEN HD, to commence in December, will offer programs currently simulcast with the analogue and standard-definition channels, but significantly also promises 50 hours per week of exclusive content plus 11 hours per week of time-shifted content including Ten News.
The new high-definition channel will include extended programming of its major franchise formats including Australian Idol, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance, plus sports coverage, movies, documentaries and themed-programming such as dedicated sci-fi nights. The new channel will certainly boost the take-up of digital tuners which has lagged somewhat – in the six years since digital television began only 28 per cent of households have converted to digital free-to-air television and with analogue signals potentially being switched off in the next three to five years, there is a need to increase market penetration of digital receivers.
The launch of TEN HD marks the first channel since restrictions on high-definition multi-channels were lifted earlier this year and in metropolitan areas is the first digital multi-channel to launch since ABC2 began in 2005. From 2009, commercial networks will also be permitted to open an additional standard-definition channel – something that has been allowed on the national broadcasters ABC and SBS since digital television began in 2001.