SBS is the only free to air network that still broadcasts a high definition simulcast of its main channel, SBS ONE. SBS is also the only free to air broadcaster that still only has two unique channels – SBS ONE and SBS TWO, with SBS ONE HD an HD simulcast of SBS ONE.
The probability of SBS launching a third channel in the near future is unlikely due to budgetary restraints. Even if they did, it would be able to be in standard definition, like is the case with ABC3. That would leave the HD channel untouched as an SBS ONE simulcast. Only if they went for a fourth channel , would SBS ONE HD have to be given up as an SBS ONE simulcast.
As discussed in part 3 about ABC News 24, both ABC and SBS do not have the same requirements as the commercial networks do when it comes to providing HD content. They simply only have to upscale programming to meet their HD requirements, while the commercials must provide a 1,040 hours of HD content per year – 20 hours a week.
In going through many weeks of SBS programming in an attempt to find out what shows are in HD on SBS ONE HD, I came up with a blank. Nowhere – not from any source – could I find anything anywhere that listed any show on SBS as being in HD. Could it just be that there is actually nothing on SBS ONE HD in native HD? Or that the network chooses not to disclose which shows are in HD?
I recall in 2009 that the Ashes series that year was promoted as, and shown in HD. I have seen other sporting events in HD on SBS ONE HD as well. But, from what I can see, nothing else seems to be. Some of their BBC sourced documentaries they air are made in HD, as are other shows like Mad Men, and Entourage, but that doesn’t mean SBS procure the HD version to air. HD versions of shows generally cost more – which presents a problem for a network so tight on budget.
When asked about the amount of HD content SBS screens, the answer from SBS was: “Where HD programming is available it is broadcast on SBS ONE HD. SBS has comparatively low levels of HD content it broadcasts compared to other broadcasters.”
Comparatively low levels of HD content? None at all seems to be the case at the moment.
That is not to say that there will be, or is, HD content from time to time.
But – to answer the question of how much HD content is on SBS ONE HD? I would have to say none at the moment. Save for a sporting event, a documentary or a series SBS manage to procure in HD.