Trust launches BBC HD public value test

The BBC Trust has launched its public value test (PVT) into the corporation's plans for a permanent free-to-view high-definition (HD) television channel. The process begins today with a four-week consultation on the proposed channel. Media regulator Ofcom has begun its assessment of the impact of BBC HD on commercial rivals and the Trust will weigh that against its public value.

The BBC Trust said it hoped to complete its PVT in September, when a provisional conclusion will be reached. A final decision will be made in November after a further consultation.

The service application says the BBC plans to launch a single HD channel in 2007/2008, "distributed on as many platforms as is feasible: satellite, cable and, where possible, DTT and internet protocol television (IPTV)".

The channel will offer "the best of the BBC's HD programming—selected to maximise reach and impact—from across the existing BBC channels; and simulcasts of BBC ONE's core peaktime content, complemented by time-shifted and archive content plus a limited amount of new content".

The proposed channel will have a nine hour core schedule, running from 3pm to midnight each day. "During the rest of the 24 hours a promotional loop of highlights will run, drawn from across the BBC's HD schedule," says the application.

"When appropriate, the nine hour programme schedule will be extended to accommodate coverage of, for example, live sport, music and significant national events."

The BBC has joined other public service broadcasters in a campaign aimed at persuading ministers to set aside spectrum for HD broadcasts on digital terrestrial television.

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