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Exclusive: Seven to simulcast in HD in 2016 | @Channel7

OpinionSteve Molk

Hawthorn win the 2015 AFL Grand Final
Image - Seven

DeciderTV has learned exclusively that The Seven Network will simulcast their primary channel in high definition in 2016, ensuring the changes are in place by the time the AFL season kicks off.

Seven were caught off guard a few weeks ago when Nine announced as a part of their 2016 UpFronts they'd simulcast their primary channel 9 in HD on channel 90 from Thursday 26 November. This coincides with the first day/night test match from Adelaide and ensures viewers quickly learn how good sport looks in HD ahead of next year's NRL season.

Even though Seven lead the pack for live-streaming their three free-to-air channels (launching this on Melbourne Cup day 2015) it was a glaring oversight by the Network trying to position itself as a digital leader.

With no date is set for the conversion, and given how close we are to the end of the 2015 year, Seven are unlikely to have  the changes in place for the Australian Open Tennis in late January 2016. To facilitate the change Seven's current HD channel 7mate will convert to SD and the new HD service will be offered on channel 70.

It leaves Ten as the only free-to-air commercial channel not to start live-streaming OR deliver a HD simulcast primary channel. Given their push to grow the Big Bash Cricket brand this coming summer it's a huge misstep and, coupled with the poor performance of Tenplay, will leave viewers questioning the fourth-placed Network's online strategy.