ITV viewers in many areas of the UK will finally be able to watch their news and regional programming in high definition soon – but it also means some will have to upgrade their Freesat and Sky boxes.
ITV is completing its comprehensive switch to a full HD satellite broadcast model for ITV1, aiming to unify the viewing experience across all regions of the UK.
Following in the footsteps of the BBC, which is in the midst of… Go to HD only on Freesat and Sky platforms, ITV is now extending this promotion to the last few territories, specifically canal, scotland borders, utv, And Wales.
While UK-wide ITV1 was already available in HD, regional programming in some areas (local news in particular) was not yet available in HD – so SD feeds remained live.
But this is set to change in the coming months and until then January 2024.
The move is a satellite-only affair, leaving Freeview unchanged but bringing a notable change for Freesat and Sky users.
In particular, those with older SD-only set-top boxes (usually 10 or more years old) will need to upgrade their hardware to continue enjoying ITV1 regional programming in the affected areas.
According to ITV, 98% of digital satellite homes via Sky and Freesat already receive HD channels, and won’t have to change their equipment.
Wales, for example, has enjoyed ITV Cymru programs in HD for the past eight years.
However, the full range of ITV content, including news and other programmes, will only be available in HD from next January.
This means that households in Wales, the Channel Islands and other affected areas with SD-only satellite receivers will need to upgrade to high-definition (HD) devices to continue accessing regional content designed specifically for these viewers.
For now, affected users will be able to continue watching the rest of ITV1’s programming in SD – but will lose access to regional programming (which will only be in HD).
It is safe to assume that in the future SD satellite channels will be shut down entirely, in a similar way to what the BBC is currently doing.
The move to high definition (HD), which is in line with the broader industry’s move toward superior picture quality, requires action from a small subset of viewers still working on older, SD-only equipment.
Another option is of course to watch ITV via broadband, on ITVX, either on demand or live.
However, some devices (particularly Freeview Play TVs) Does not support live channels on ITVX.
Furthermore, ITVX does not currently broadcast regional news (other than the London edition). So another option is to go to www.itv.com/news, Where you can watch the full program for your area for 30 minutes.
They are generally available for 24 hours after the first submission.
Are you affected by the ITV SD shutdown?
The move to HD broadcasting on satellite platforms particularly affects a small subset of viewers who only use SD set-top boxes.
While ITV completes the HD upgrade, the focus is on those in the Channel, Border Scotland, UTV and Wales regions. The steps to determine if you are affected are straightforward:
Freesat users: Switch to channel 799 on your Freesat device. This is a test HD channel provided by the BBC, but is also relevant to affected ITV users.
This channel provides a tool that indicates whether your receiver is HD compatible or not. If your box is not compatible, a message will be displayed instructing you in the steps needed to move to HD.
Sky users: Sky suggests two ways to check your box’s compatibility:
Select channel 105 on the remote control. If channel 5 HD is displayed, your device is HD compatible. If channel 5 is viewed in SD format, you will need to upgrade your receiver (channel 5 is not related to the upcoming changes – but is simply a user-friendly channel for testing).
Alternatively, press Services on your Sky remote, then press 4, followed by 5 to check the version number of your box. Compare this figure with the list of affected boxes provided by Sky.
The affected Sky boxes are:
- 4F01 to 4F06 (Amstrad)
- 4E01 to 4E05 (Grundig)
- 9F01 to 9F08 and 9F0A (speed)
- 0F01 to 0F05 (Panasonic)
- 4E06 to 4E08 (Thompson)
- 4F2001 to 4F2006 (Amstrad)
- 4F2101 to 4F2118 and 9F2101 to 9F2137 (Amstrad or Pace)
- 9F2001 to 9F2024, PVR2, 9F2201 to 9F2235, 9F2301 to 9F2339 (PES)
- 4E2101 to 4E2141 (Thompson)
Upgrade your Freesat/Sky Box
If you find your receiver is SD-only, you’ll need to upgrade to continue enjoying ITV1 regional content.
Contact your service provider: Both Sky and Freesat have helplines to help you with the upgrade process.
For Skye you can visit Sky help page Or call 0333-7591018. Freesat users can call 0345-3130051 for guidance.
Upgrade your box:
Sky users: Sky offers a hassle-free experience Upgrade to Sky Q at no extra costWhich ensures a smooth transition to HD.
This upgrade It does not change the Sky TV package or its priceswhich is a relief to viewers who are concerned about the additional costs.
Once registered, a Sky engineer will install your new Sky Q device at your convenience, giving you access to all ITV (and BBC) channels in HD.
Freesat users: Consider upgrading to one The latest Freesat 4K boxes Which also comes with streaming apps like BBC iPlayer and ITVX.
Instead, the Manhattan SX Fund It’s a more budget-friendly option, although it lacks recording capabilities and streaming apps. It is priced at around £69.
Financial support for Freesat: With the BBC’s high definition move occurring around the same time, there is support available for vulnerable viewers.
Over-75s and/or those on certain benefits can access a support scheme offering a £40 voucher towards the purchase of a new Freesat box.
Some viewers, subject to a hardship test, may be eligible for a coupon covering the full cost of a replacement box, specifically a Manhattan SX.
There is also home visiting provision for vulnerable viewers who need help installing the box inside their homes.
Check your eligibility by HD Satellite Upgrade Site.
These steps aim to ensure viewers in the above regions can seamlessly transition to high definition (HD), in line with the rest of the country in enjoying superior picture quality on ITV1.