The BBC has announced the imminent launch of five new HD channels on Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview HD, YouView and Freesat HD. 

Customers will be able to tune into BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD from December 10 onwards. 

The new HD channels were announced in July and weren’t expected to be live until 2014, so this is something of an early Christmas present from the BBC. 

Back in the day, the BBC's HD coverage consisted of just this test channel

The total number of HD channels broadcasted by the BBC now totals seven, following the launch of BBC Two HD earlier this year. 

While the five new HD channels will be available to the majority of customers, not everyone will get everything from launch due to a variety of technical restrictions. We’ve detailed below the various ways in which customers can pick up the BBC’s new HD channels. 

How can I get BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD on...

 

How can I get BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD on Sky?

All Sky customers will be able to get the new channels from launch. Where they’ll appear on your Sky programme guide depends whether or not you’re an HD subscriber.  

The new channel numbers for customers with a Sky HD subscription are:

  • BBC Three HD: 115
  • BBC Four HD: 116
  • BBC News HD: 570
  • CBeebies HD: 614
  • CBBC HD: 613

If you don't currently have an HD subscription with your Sky TV package you can still get the new channels, at the following numbers: 

  • BBC Three HD: 210
  • BBC Four HD: 211
  • BBC News HD: 570
  • CBeebies HD: 624
  • CBBC HD: 633

Customers with an HD subscription will see the new channels higher up in the programme guide, as part of the BBC’s intention to give customers the ‘best first’. The BBC News HD channel hasn’t yet been bumped higher up the Sky programme guide due to technical reasons. 

Director of BBC distribution Alix Pryde says that the changeover will take place in January 2014 to avoid any changeover work which could impact on the SD BBC News channel over the Christmas season. 

Sky customers should receive the channels automatically with no rescanning required. 

To get HD channels with Sky, you’ll need to sign up for Entertainment Extra+

How can I get BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD on Virgin Media? 

Virgin Media customers will get the new channels automatically, regardless of their subscription. The new channels will be available at: 

  • BBC Three HD: 163
  • BBC Four HD: 164
  • BBC News HD: 604
  • CBBC HD: 710
  • CBeebies HD: 711

The new channels also align quite nicely with BBC One and Two HD, which are available at 161 and 162 respectively on Virgin Media. In other words, to get any of the BBC’s main HD channels on Virgin TV, you just need to tap ‘1, 6,’ on your remote and then the number of the channel you want. Nice. 

How can I get BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD on Freeview HD and YouView? 

Not all Freeview HD and YouView customers will be able to get the new channels from launch. Only 50 per cent of UK homes will be able to get them all from tomorrow, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. 

By the time of Wimbledon 2014, availability of these channels will extend to 70 per cent, but there’s no date for nationwide coverage at the moment. 

For those who can get it, the channels will be available at: 

  • BBC Three HD: 105
  • BBC Four HD: 106
  • BBC News HD: 107
  • CBBC HD: 73
  • CBeebies HD: 74

These channels will use new capacity made by Ofcom earlier in the year. 

How can I get BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD on Freesat HD? 

If you have Freesat and you do not pick up the new channels automatically, you may need to put your digital box or TV into standby for 30 seconds and then switch it back on again. 

If the channels are still unavailable then carry out a 'Freesat channel retune'. Once done, the new channels should appear here: 

  • BBC Three HD: 147
  • BBC Four HD: 148
  • BBC News HD: 212
  • CBBC HD: 607
  • CBeebies HD: 608

I still can't get BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, BBC News HD, CBBC HD and CBeebies HD. What's going on?

If you still can’t get the new channels you’ll need to contact your TV provider directly. Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat all have separate help pages. 

We’ve written a guide on how to retune your Freeview box, which should help if the channels don’t automatically appear. You may need to contact your manufacturer if problems persist. It is possible that you might not be able to receive the new channels until coverage improves. 

We’ll be tracking the progress of these new channels availability on Freeview HD and YouView, so check back here for updates. 

Image: Ian Dick/Flickr