7HD is an Australian television channel, owned by Seven West Media, originally launched on 15 October 2007 featuring unique breakaway programming from 10 December 2007 to 4 October 2009 and a HD simulcast of Seven until 25 September 2010. The channel is available to high definition digital television viewers in metropolitan areas through a number of owned-and-operated stations. On 25 September 2010, 7HD was replaced by the new channel 7mate.
7HD returned as a high definition simulcast on channel 70 on 10 May 2016. The Melbourne and Adelaide markets receive 7HD as a HD simulcast of Seven's primary channel while the Sydney, Brisbane and Perth markets receives 7HD as a HD simulcast of 7mate; this is to allow Australian Football League (AFL) matches to be broadcast in HD in those markets. Occasionally, 7HD may simulcast the primary channel in HD in the latter markets to allow other sporting events such as the Australian Open tennis and the Summer and Winter Olympics to be broadcast in HD.
In 2004, after the 2001 introduction of digital terrestrial television in Australia, the Seven Network began a part-time high definition simulcast on digital channel 70 under the name 7 HD Digital. This simulcast showcased native high definition content alongside standard definition services on Seven. During the times that native high definition content was unavailable for simulcasting, a promo loop that showcased extracts from a variety of Seven's programs was broadcast.
7HD was officially announced on 15 September 2007, with the Seven West Media announcing their intention to start a high definition multichannel, that was initially expected to launch in December 2007. However, 7HD became the first Free-to-air commercial television channel introduced to metropolitan areas since 1988, when it launched prior on 15 October 2007, with 25th Hour being the first program broadcast at 10:30pm.
The channel replaced Seven's existing high definition service 7 HD Digital, a part-time simulcast of its standard definition and analogue services. Due to an amendment of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 in 2006, the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital television) Act 2006, television networks are now permitted to launch digital multichannels, provided that they are broadcast exclusively in high definition. The channel expanded its broadcast schedule on 10 December 2007 to include daytime programming which had previously been a full simulcast of the main channel. 7HD breakaway programming ceased transmission on Sunday 4 October 2009 in preparation for the launch of 7TWO a few weeks later on 1 November. 7HD then returned to being a full high definition simulcast of Seven, before finally being replaced by 7mate on 25 September 2010.
On 10 May 2016, 7HD returned as a high definition simulcast on channel 70. However, Melbourne and Adelaide were the only cities that received 7HD as a simulcast of Seven's primary channel on that date; Sydney, Brisbane and Perth received 7HD as a simulcast of 7mate. This is so that upcoming AFL matches can be shown in HD in all markets.
In order to allow the 2016 Summer Olympics to be broadcast in high definition in all capital cities, 7HD was temporarily changed to a simulcast of Seven's primary channel in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth on 5 August 2016. However, it was reverted to a 7mate simulcast in those markets on 22 August 2016, following the conclusion of the Olympics.
On 16 December 2016, 7HD switched from simulcasting 7mate to simulcasing Seven's primary channel in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth for the Australian Open Tennis, while 7mate was reduced to an SD channel on Channel 73 in the latter markets.
During its time of breakaway broadcasting, 7HD broadcast a range of programming, with exclusive transmissions on weekday and weekend afternoons as well as late on weeknights, and for some time there was breakaway programming in prime-time on Saturdays and Sundays. Up to seven hours of exclusive programming was broadcast daily.
Weekday afternoon programming included repeats of locally produced lifestyle programming, such as The Great Outdoors, New Idea TV, as well as movies and Disney cartoons such as Kim Possible, American Dragon: Jake Long, and My Friends Tigger and Pooh. In the late evenings a mixture of exclusive series, movies and encore screenings of series were broadcast. Late-night series broadcast included This is Your Laugh, Lost, Scrubs, That 70's Show, The Grid, Urban Legends, Final 24, Dateline NBC, 5ive Days to Midnight, A Country Practice, and classic episodes of Deal or No Deal as well as late movies and encores of other series shown on Channel Seven.
The only two series exclusively made for 7HD were The NightCap and This is Your Laugh. The NightCap was broadcast exclusively on 7HD on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30pm until its axing during the Easter non-ratings break of 2008.
In its former inception, 7HD was available Seven's owned-and-operated stations, ATN Sydney, HSV Melbourne, BTQ Brisbane, SAS Adelaide, TVW Perth and STQ Queensland. Regional affiliate Prime Television also carried their own HD simulcast, Prime HD, on its owned-and-operated stations, AMV Victoria, NEN Northern New South Wales and CBN Southern New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory. Regional affiliates Southern Cross Television and Golden West Network (owned by Prime) did not carry 7HD.
Upon its revival on 10 May 2016, 7HD returned to 1080i high definition, but was broadcast in MPEG-4 format as opposed to the standard MPEG-2 format. Unlike its rival channels 9HD and Ten HD which simulcasts their respective main channel in HD across their owned-and-operated markets, 7HD simulcasts Seven's primary channel in Melbourne and Adelaide upon its revival, while Seven's other metropolitan markets receives the channel as a simulcast of 7mate. From 16 December 2016 onwards, 7HD simulcasts Seven's primary channel in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
7HD, however, can simulcast Seven's main channel across all metropolitan markets when major special sport events are broadcast there. This first occurred from 5–22 August 2016 for the broadcast of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The switch also occurred since 16 December 2016 to allow the Australian Open Tennis to be broadcast in HD.