The long is wait is still not over: Although the full roll-out of regional news in HD, on BBC One HD, was supposed to start this year, the BBC announced today that it will only be ready “by early 2023”.
A small number of people can already get regional BBC One news in High Definition – those with Sky’s streaming TV, Sky Glass, along with Virgin Media customers.
However, despite the BBC’s statements last year, that regional HD roll-out will reach Freeview, Freesat and BBC iPlayer viewers this year – a further delay is now on the cards, following a 12-years wait.
This means those red screens that tell you to switch to the SD channel for your regional news – are here to stay, for now, for most people.
BBC One HD launched as a separate channel back in 2010. A few years later, regional programming (which mainly consists of regional news broadcasts) also became available in HD – but only in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The promise of regional HD news for viewers in England has been around for years – but BBC One HD viewers remained stuck with a red warning screen that prompted them to switch to BBC One (SD) to watch their regional news.
Once the regional programmes (such as the evening news) were done, the regular broadcast returned on BBC One HD.
Currently, the BBC airs local news bulletins from several distinct regions – London, South West (Channel Island), East Midlands, West Midlands and more.
According to the BBC, upgrading regional news to HD requires “Significant infrastructure changes”, which is why a phased approach is being implemented, and some TV platforms will now take even longer to get the HD upgrade.
Late last year, with the launch of Sky Glass, which is based on IP-TV and streaming, it already supported regional BBC news in HD.
Then in January 2022, Virgin Media customers were added to the mix, and can now get Full HD regional news on BBC One as well.
2023 Delay For Regional News
In its annual plan for 2022/2023, the BBC had some bad news for those eager to get their regional news in HD.
Originally, the BBC’s aim was to launch BBC One HD services across England on all platforms “by the end of 2022”.
But in the updated plan, the timeline has changed:
“In regional news, we will ensure all regional variants of BBC One in England are available in HD by early 2023, and continue our work to upgrade our production facilities across our 15 regional bases in England.”
Therefore, viewers on most devices will likely have to wait until some time in 2023.
There’s also some good news for regional news programmes, however:
“During 2022, we will also begin a programme of investment to refresh the creative look of all our regional news programmes – recognition of the continued role of the 6:30 pm Nations and regions bulletin as the UK’s most-watched news programme”.
And as stated before, along with the BBC One HD regional news upgrade, the BBC is also adding HD versions to some of their other channels – including BBC Two Northern Ireland, BBC ALBA and BBC Parliament.
However, while there was no specific mention of these in the new annual plan – there’s a good chance these channels will now have to wait until “early 2023” as well, before they reach every platform.
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