IN an open letter to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, Sony’s managing director, Steve Dowdle, warned that the Government plans with regard to the provision of HD television services will create a two tier TV society, in which the well-off will have HD technology and the rest will be forced to watch an inferior quality service.
MPs are backing the media regulator Ofcom which plans to auction off the digital airwave space, which will become available when the analogue signals are switched off, to the highest bidder. This situation will benefit mobile phone companies and pay-for TV broadcasters with big budgets, which will be able to outbid the terrestrial broadcasters.
“When considering the future of the DTT platform and Ofcom’s Digital Dividend Review, I am certain that we are currently heading for a disastrous outcome that will deprive the majority of the UK public of HD for at least a generation if not more,” wrote Steve Dowdle.
He also added: “Countries around the world are now leaping ahead of the UK, reserving HD for public service broadcasters – in response to consumer demand.” An example of this is the French culture ministry which has reserved capacity for a third HD channel on DTT, which will go to public service broadcaster France Télévisions.
Dowdle called on Tessa Jowell to take immediate action: “I urge you to take it upon yourself not to allow the DTT platform in the UK to begin its inevitable demise that will happen if HD is not allowed to flourish on Freeview. You will create a two tier TV society for the first time in our broadcasting history.”