C4, S4C, Five Plan HD Push-VOD For Freeview PVRs; New Film, Kids Services

Channel 4 and S4C have applied to Ofcom to launch a new Freeview offering that would include a HD video on demand service. The service would push programming from around the world to hard disks inside set top boxes during the early hours of the morning. But it’s just one part of a three-pronged application to occupy capacity on the so-called Multiplex B radio spectrum that’s due to be reorganised. The service would work like this…

4am-7am – push VOD: Much like Sky’s Anytime service pushes programmes to the half of viewers’ Sky+ boxes that is reserved for BSkyB’s own selection of shows, C4/S4C say: “We would like to use this as an opportunity to showcase the best of HD programmes from around the world. The inherent spectrum constraints of the DTT platform make it difficult to provide as wide an HD offering as other platforms, which we plan to address by providing this additional video on demand service.” The pair say this would “constitute a significant enhancement of the Freeview platform“. “Pick-of-the-best” HD shows would be pushed to set top boxes from C4, S4C and other “potential partners”, who aren’t named.

7am-11am – new kids’ channel: This would extend an offering like Cyw, a public service children’s TV service S4C launched in June, to the rest of the UK in both Welsh and English. This would clearly please observers worried at threats to kids’ TV programming, an area in which S4C has a rich heritage, and is likely to be a boon to Wales’ independent TV production sector. To help run the service, S4C would like to bid for competitive funding – a new fund Ofcom is considering introducing. Cyw is also currently streaming online.

11am-4am – Film4 HD: The bulk of the service would be given to airing C4’s existing movies channel in hi-def, extending its current 12-hour run to 17. “The launch of Channel 4