You will need a HD decoder built into the TV im afraid Joe, and any Freeview HD broadcasts are likely to be MPEG4 instead of the existing MPEG2 format. It may also run on an entirely new standard (DVBT2), because in doing this, Ofcom can utilise MIMO technology, which whilst it requires new arial's to be installed, theroetically doubles the bandwidth available on the QAM, to about 40mbps, maybe even more dependent on whether a 16 channel QAM or a 64 channel QAM is used.
Any TV currently on Sale
in the UK, with a built in Freeview decoder will "not" be Freeview HD compatible. Any TV currently on Sale
in the UK that say's it contains an HD tuner, will unfortunatly contain a DVBS tuner which is not compatible with DVBT/T2 though it will still recieve HD via a DSAT dish.
HD Ready simply means the TV is capable of recieving and displaying an HD source via either DVI or HDMI wit HDCP (the reason component is no longer supported for SkyHD) in at least 720p an 1080i resolution (has to be native to 720).
1080p is not included in the HD Ready certification, which I think is a con tbh, as it confuses things even more for consumers. It costs little more to produce a 1080p set than it does to produce a 720 set.
Ive been watching a lot of stuff this last year or so in HD, and tbh, its not all its made out to be; its good for sets over 42" because SD starts to struggle quality-wise, but there is a lot of upscaling systems contained on the higher end TV's that will turn an SD source into HD without much in the way of noise etc. I prefer to see quality programming than more drivel like we are seeing on TV atm, in HD. It does cost more to film in HD, special effects are a a premium, and sets have to be ultra-high quality to cope with the demands of it, not to mention new equipment and mastering requirements. If you gave me the choice of a quality programme, in SVHS quality, and an average programme, in HD quality, id take the former anyday. Also, do you really want to watch Eastenders in HD?? They upgraded their sets two year's ago, but have never broadcast in HD, I think Auntie have realised people arnt really all that bothered. Is a novelty, but its a short one, and time and money is better spend on the programming quality.
The main advantage to HD for me, is HD Audio, unfortunately, whether or not any Freeview HD broadcasters will be allow to utilize this, is in doubt.
As part of the development of TopUp TV, we have yet to see any indication of an HD future, so expect that when it does finally arrive, it will be expensive and very limited, especially in the intiial years.
Imho, they should limit it to ITV HD and BBC HD, 1 channel each, and the rest of the spectrum should be used to SD channels and other services, whilst HD is the future, DVBT HD is always going to be underpar in comparison to other formats.
The changeover in format from MPEG2 to MPEG4 is the thing that really annoys me; Sky were blasted by the BBC, ITV, Ofcom et al, when they wanted to launch Sky Picnic utilising MPEG4, all citing concerns over the viability of MPEG2 and MPEG4 running in the same spectrum, even though it is working in France without issue. It was a mjor sticking point for Sky's plans. Yet, as soon as HD comes into the picture, and the bandwidth requirements jump through the roof, it is suddenly okay to use MPEG4 in the same spectrum as MPEG2... either that, or we are all going to be right royally shafted again (ie. they will be forcing everyone to change over to MPEG4 boxes - not the first time this government has shafted people who have already "changed over" to DVBT).