Digital Life

7flix coming February 28 but we're still waiting for the return of 7HD

Channel 76 will kick off at the end of the month, but there's still no word on switching Seven's primary channel to high-def in time for the AFL premiership season.

7flix is a new general entertainment channel screening the likes of Seinfeld, Once Upon a Time and Grey's Anatomy along with romcom movies and kids shows. Seven unveiled details during Sunday night prime time, having run a "Coming Soon" placeholder on Channel 76 for several months. 7flix will also be streamed live via Seven's Plus7 catch up service.

Seven has the Super Bowl in high-def on 7Mate, with a 24/7 high-def simulcast of its primary expected in the time the ...
Seven has the Super Bowl in high-def on 7Mate, with a 24/7 high-def simulcast of its primary expected in the time the 2016 AFL season. Photo: AP

This line-up certainly sounds more enticing than yet another home shopping or 24/7 reality TV channel, but unfortunately Seven has confirmed that the launch of 7flix won't necessarily coincide with plans to turn Channel 70 into a high-def simulcast of Seven's primary channel.

Seven's high-def switch is expected to come soon, with the AFL resuming on March 24. It follows Nine's move late last year to convert Channel 90 into a MPEG-4 high-def simulcast of 9 while downgrading GEM to standard-def.

We've recently seen the analogue switch-off and a digital spectrum reshuffle, granting the networks greater freedom in terms of high-def broadcasting. They've taken an ad-hoc approach to high-def sport, but that should change this year.

There was a time when all five major networks offered HD simulcasts of their primary channels, but unfortunately all but SBS gave up after a few years – finding it more lucrative to screen re-runs of Gilligan's Island on their high-def channels while shows actually available in high-def languish on the standard-def channels.

It's been one more justification for Aussie pirates sticking with the BitTorrent channel, where they can download high-def rips of their favourite shows rather than watching them in standard-def on Australian free-to-air television.

For now 7mate remains Seven network's high-def channel, mostly screening blokey US TV shows but occasionally offering a high-def simulcast of the primary channel such as with the Super Bowl. What do you want to watch in high-def this year?

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