ITV HD is a British free-to-air high-definition television channel operated by ITV plc, the company which is contracted to provide 11 ITV services across the UK. ITV HD is available to view in England, Wales and the Scottish Borders on Freesat via channel 119,Freeview channel 103, Sky channel 178, Virgin Media channel 113 and in Switzerland on SwisscomTV. From 2 April 2010, ITV1 HD became a standard channel available on all digital platforms.
The channel originally existed on a trial basis from June until November 2006, primarily to show the World Cup games to which ITV had the rights.
The channel was available to subscribers of the Telewest TV Drive cable service and was also broadcast as a low-power digital terrestrial (DVB-T) channel from London's Crystal Palace Transmitter as part of a terrestrial HDTV trial involving 450 homes. ITV HD did not broadcast onsatellite television, unlike BBC HD. It was available on Telewest channel 118 and Freeview channel 503 in homes which were involved in the HD trial.
In addition to the World Cup games, ITV HD showed classic films remastered in HD (such as All Quiet on the Western Front and The Big Sleep), documentaries (such as Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Adventures) and dramas such as Poirot.
The original ITV HD stopped broadcasting on 30 November 2006.
2008 launch Edit
High definition broadcasts from ITV plc launched exclusively on Freesat, the new digital satellite service from the BBC and ITV on 7 June 2008, just in time for the start of UEFA Euro 2008. ITV plc planned to spend £10m during 2008 on the launch of ITV HD.
Freeview and 2009 rebrand Edit
ITV HD became ITV1 HD when it relaunched for Freeview HD on 2 December 2009. It continued to operate on Freesat as a red button service on select programming.
ITV1 HD aimed to include 35% 'native HD' content at the start of 2010, rising to at least 60% at the start of 2012 and at least 70% at the start of 2014. In the early years, the service will focus on sport and drama content, over time it is expected that the majority of other genres to convert to native HD.
ITV1 HD operated from 18:00 to 23:00 seven days a week. From August 2009, ITV began testing a HD simulcast of ITV Granada on satellite, before later switching to ITV London. On 26 November 2009, the ITV1 HD logo appeared as a digital on-screen graphic during programming and the off air station identification.
2010 launch as a standard channel Edit
On 12 March 2010, it was announced that ITV1 HD would become a standard channel on 2 April 2010, simulcasting the main ITV1 channel, and launching on Sky and Virgin Media, as well as switching from a red button interactive service to a full-time channel on Freesat. It continues to only be available in ITV plc owned ITV franchise areas, covering England, Wales and the Scottish Borders area, though red button access on ITV1 London (Freesat channel 977) remains in place. The launch coincided with the closure of Men & Motors. During March 2010, Ofcom issued broadcast licenses for six regional variations of ITV1 HD, with Central, Granada/Border and Meridian/Anglia regions joining London/LWT in June 2010. Some variations had only available on a free-to-view basis on satellite, Freesat viewers in those regions are instead given either the Granada/Border or London/LWT variation. However, Meridian became free-to-air in September 2012 with Central following in October 2012. On 14 January 2013, ITV1 HD received a new logo and went back to its former name, "ITV HD", as part of a rebranding of ITV's television channels and online services. On 25 August 2015, ITV Cymru Wales became available on HD.