ITV on Astra 2 - the SD shutdown begins...

ITV is making some changes to increase their HD offering.

On 20 October, ITV HD launches in Yorkshire East, Central East, Anglia West, Meridian North and Meridian South.
Also on 20 October 2020, ITV SD closes in Border England, Anglia West, Meridian North and Yorkshire East. ITV+1 closes in Anglia, West, Tyne Tees, Westcountry, Wales and Yorkshire. These closing ITV SD and ITV+1 services will be replaced by larger regions.
But don’t worry – after the changes, you’ll still be able to record all your favourite programmes on ITV following these few simple steps.
  • Just go to your Sky planner from 20 October 2020, and delete any planned recordings you have set on ITV SD, ITV+1 or ITV HD.
  • Then, re-select what you want to record from in the TV Guide (including any series links). Programmes recorded before 20 October 2020 will not be affected and these changes will not affect ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, ITVbe or any other channel.
And remember, if you miss your favourite ITV programme you can find ITV Player in the Catch-up area on your Sky+ or Sky Q box.

As announced on Sky's website...

...pretty sudden announcement, but it looks like ITV are aware of HD kit penetration in Sky & Freesat homes (would be at least partially based on, but not wholly on viewing figures for their SD & HD versions of the main ITV channel) and have decided to start the ball rolling with dropping the SD/HD simulcast for most of their regions.

This obviously begs the question as to what the BBC's, and to a lesser extent Channel 4's plans regarding phasing out SD are for the medium to long term.


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No doubt there will be a story about this on the regional news for the regions involved on Monday . This is fantastic news however Freeview will remain the same as far as I am aware.
On a technical basis, the five regions mentioned for a HD launch on the Sky EPG are all on the one transponder (11097 V) with three of the regions essentially being "flash cut" i.e. SD discontinued for a new HD feed (Yorkshire East, Anglia West & Meridian North/Thames Valley), with Border England becoming HD only leaving four "HD only" regions, and Central East & Meridian South remaining dual illuminated for the time being.

Looking at the services being discontinued, the majority of them are on 10994 H. Regions on that transponder whose SD transmissions are **not** listed for closing include Border Scotland, Central East, Wales and Westcountry West. I suspect 10994 H will go dark, with those remaining services being shifted to other active transponders, so expect some service shifting in the early hours of Tuesday morning probably to 10758 V (where Anglia East +1 is closing) and 10891 H (Where Border England & Westcounty SW +1 are closing).

Don't forget there are many still using a lowly Sky/Sky+ box as their mode of reception.

I wonder just how many are still in active service. While I'm sure there are piles of them lying around in storage, how many of them are actively being used now? The original Sky and Sky+ receivers were already starting to become old hat at the start of the last decade and I'm pretty sure Sky had stopped offering non-HD Sky boxes by around 2012? Freesat only had a short window at the beginning where they sold SD only receivers so the vast majority of their base are already HD viewing compliant. Sky, I'm sure via their subscriber data, will know how many subscribers they have that are still relying on SD only receivers and might have shared some of this data with ITV in order for them to make decisions on capacity and shifting towards HD.

What is interesting to view however is that ITV have been quite willing to take a knife to +1 transmissions in a number of notable regions - perhaps ratings data is showing a declining audience for the timeshift channel in favour of on-demand programming via ITV Hub and are cutting their cloth accordingly by allowing the +1 "strand" to develop into super-regions in the meantime.
No doubt there will be a story about this on the regional news for the regions involved on Monday . This is fantastic news however Freeview will remain the same as far as I am aware.

There was a short 60 segment on the ITV Meridian News about the changes they didn't say much just to say that you can now catch your local news on channel 103 Sky and Freesat. They specifically said Freeview would stay the same.