ABC is shifting their main channel to high definition in time for this year’s New Year’s Eve telecast, while ABC News 24 will move to standard definition.
Unlike ABC News 24, the new ABC HD channel will be broadcast in MPEG-4. Some viewers with TVs purchased prior to 2009 will not be able to view ABC HD due to incompatibility.
Existing ABC channels, including the SD main channel broadcast on channels 2 and 21, as well as ABC 2 on 22 and ABC ME on 23, will not be changed. Some viewers may choose to continue tuning in to ‘channel 2’, but the ABC is pushing viewers to try the new HD broadcast once it becomes available.
“The beauty of HD is that it offers a sharper picture quality,” the ABC said in a statement. “If you have a HD MPEG-4 compatible TV set, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this optimum picture quality?”
The broadcaster first announced the plan last week, and has now begun on-air promotions to inform viewers they may need to retune to add the new HD channel.
Most primary free-to-air channels are now broadcast in high definition, with Channel 7 in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth still yet to make the shift. Plans for 4K broadcasts on any of the free-to-air networks or Foxtel have not yet been announced.
Along with shifting to SD, ABC News 24 will also be rebranded to ABC News to unify the network’s news presence on TV, radio and online.
ABC HD will be available on channel 20 from December, with more details to be released at a later date.