The BBC has announced that it plans to launch five new HD channels, BBC News HD, BBC Three HD and BBC Four HD along with children’s channels CBBC HD and Cbeebies HD.
The new channels will be launching first on all digital TV platforms. Freeview viewers, as well as those with digital terrestrial-based platforms (YouView, BT Vision and TalkTalk TV) will get BBC Three HD and CBBC HD delivered over the BBC’s existing broadcast capacity.
Ofcom has just announced details regarding the future of Freeview, which could see up to ten new HD channels created. The BBC says that BBC News HD, BBC Four HD and Cbeebies HD will make use of this new airspace.
Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media customers are expected to get all five of the channels from launch.
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General said in a statement:
“BBC One HD and BBC Two HD have already proved to be highly valued by our audiences and I’m delighted that we’re able to follow this with the launch of five new subscription-free BBC HD channels by early 2014. These new channels will allow us to showcase more of our programming at its very best – helping to highlight our commitment to high quality, engaging and ambitious programmes from the BBC.”
As well as giving the thumbs up to five new HD channels, the BBC will also be launching regional variations of BBC One HD and the fairly recently-launched BBC Two HD.
BBC One HD will be tweaked and tailored for specific regions of England while viewers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will get regional versions of BBC Two HD. The BBC estimates that over half of the UK have HD TV sets and this is expected to grow to 80 per cent by 2016 and 90 per cent by 2019.
Regional variations of BBC One HD have already launched in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Image credit: Flickr user Gill Bland