Digital Spy is reporting that Ofcom has confirmed that there will be enough capacity on digital terrestrial TV by mid-2010 to launch a fourth high definition channel.
This new capacity will be available on multiplex B, with Five, ITV, Channel 4, S4C and Teletext all eligible to apply for the fourth HD public service slot.
On the technical side, Ofcom outlined three possible capacity scenarios under which all services on the multiplex would have to operate: a low capacity of 34Mbps with 30Mbps available for video streams, a mid capacity with 36Mbps of which 32.3Mbps is available for video, and an upper capacity also allowing 36Mbps but using the more efficient HE-AAC audio codec and thus offering more space for the HD video streams. Ofcom suggested that the upper capacity would be the most likely option.
Ofcom said that it was "satisfied that it will be possible to support 4 HD services on multiplex B with acceptable quality before the end of 2010... based on the assumption that the latest generation H.264 video encoding and statistical multiplexing equipment will be used when the fourth service is launched and a DVB-T2 profile which provides in excess of 34Mbps is adopted".
(Via Digital Spy