Ofcom approves BBC high-def channel


LONDON -- U.K. media regulator Ofcom has greenlighted the BBC's bid to launch a general entertainment high-definition channel, saying the format is "unlikely" to have a significant negative impact on commercial channels in the market and would benefit consumers.

A final decision on whether to launch the channel will be made by the BBC Trust later this year.

The pubcaster's management wants to make the HD channel available via digital satellite and cable TV by the end of next year, and will air four hours a day on the Freeview free-to-air digital platform. The content will consist of HD versions of existing BBC shows.

"Ofcom finds that the BBC's plans to introduce a new mixed-genre digital TV channel in high definition format is unlikely to have significant negative market impacts," the media regulator said.

The BBC-branded channel "is likely to deliver consumer benefit through increased take-up of HD which is likely to spread across all the major TV platforms including digital terrestrial television, satellite and cable," it added.