One thing that's noticable though is in all three cases, the HD version wasn't carried before, they've just switched the existing channel from SD to HD. I don't think they've taken off any simulcasts yet.
FreeSports and Racing UK are two more channels that have switched to HD only on Virgin Media. Gold HD officially arrived on Virgin on 25th September 2018 replacing SD, but it's mostly upscaled 4:3 content.
There is technically no reason why any SD/HD simulcast should be retained on any channel on Virgin Media UK, other than in those regions where there isn't the correct regional version of BBC One, BBC Two, ITV/STV or Channel 4 in HD.
Are all Virgin boxes in subscribers' homes now HD capable (even if connected to an SD set)? The other usual argument for retaining SD channels (for SD viewers) is that PVR recordings of SD services usually take up a bit less space than HD, so recording the SD version increases your PVR's capacity in 'recording hours' terms.
I guess Virgin are in a much better position than Sky, as they have full control over their set top box inventory, whereas Sky presumably still have a significant number of viewers who own SD boxes
(plus AIUI the DSO areas that provided subsidised SD Sky boxes with EPG mapping cards to get the right BBC and ITV variations to those who qualififed for them) which make retiring SD services trickier?
Certainly when DSO was in Derbyshire, I know of households on the Help Scheme that got a basic Freesat SD box (normal retail price at the time was around £40-50) rather than Sky.
Incidentally, over in Germany, where you could easily buy a satellite receiver that worked with Sky, it didn't stop them from moving all of their own SD and HD channels to DVB-S2 MPEG4, meaning older SD-only devices would no longer receive their channels.
Back to UKTV and as long as HD versions of Dave, Drama, Home, Really and Yesterday are encrypted and the other's aren't then there will always be a need to provide two versions. For the remaining channels, it will depend on how much the pay TV platforms want to pay - it appears the HD channels are being held back to those operators that want to pay more or want to have an exclusive on their platform.
Last edited by Mike516 on 30 October 2018 12:12pm