UTV, the broadcaster for ITV in Northern Ireland, will be available in HD on both the Sky and FreeSat platforms from next month.
Our Sky and FreeSat viewers will be able to enjoy a new dimension to their viewing, with even greater picture clarity on UTV HD. Sky HD viewers will be able to find us on channel 103 and FreeSat customers should select channel 119 for UTV HD.
Bringing HD to these two additional platforms represents a significant investment by UTV and one which we think our viewers will enjoy immensely. All of the favourite big name programmes will now be available in HD on Sky and FreeSat, including X Factor, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. – Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV
UTV was the first broadcaster to introduce HD to the island of Ireland in October 2010, when Her Majesty the Queen officially launched the service in Northern Ireland. Availability of the service has grown steadily since that date, with viewers already able to access UTV HD via the Freeview and Virgin platforms.
Our audience can look forward to watching the UEFA Champions’ League and FA Cup games, as well as local favourites like Lesser Spotted Culture – all in HD. – Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV adds.
In other local ITV news Channel Television is dropping its children’s favorite Puffin’s Pla(i)ce with puppet Oscar the Puffin after fifty years. Channel Television, which serves the Channel Islands, was taken over by ITVplc in 2011. The ITV company have since the late 1990s downgraded the regional network into a ‘national’ broadcaster. With the network schedules tightened, and regional slots axed, Puffin’s Pla(i)ce was initially shunted from its weekday slot to a short weekend offering a decade ago.
Despite local programmes proving popular with viewers the London-based ITVplc has decided to axe the Puffin puppet from his weekend slot on the station. ITV bosses say Oscar and his birthday greetings will however continue online. Oscar began reading out local birthday wishes back in March of 1963 becoming an icon of the broadcaster.
Up until the late 1990s regional companies operated services on ITV, mixing local content with networked programming. Currently STV, which operates two ITV regions in Scotland, and UTV, for Northern Ireland, continue to remain independent of ITVplc and offer often well received and decent rating local content.