Five new BBC high-definition channels launch tomorrow

bbchdonly-logoMany months ago, the BBC ditched screenings of any BBC Three and BBC Four high-definition programming because of their conversion of BBC HD into BBC2 HD, as I detailed in my vlog here .

A lack of HD programming from either of these channels meant the same went for iPlayer, which saw my viewing of these channels decrease, and because of the BBC’s stance on platform neutrality, they haven’t created whole-channel replacements for Sky and Virgin while they sorted out some more space on Freeview.

Now, finally, despite saying the new channels would launch in early 2014, this has been brought forward to tomorrow, Tuesday December 10th, so just in time for the Borgen Season 3 finale – although don’t worry, there’s a great Blu-ray boxset out next week

The new channels – BBC News HD, BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD – will broadcast the same programmes as their standard definition equivalents in high-definition, giving viewers access to a further 250 hours of HD programmes per week than is currently available from the BBC. The majority of HD programmes from these channels will also be available to watch on demand via BBC iPlayer.

The Freeview channels are on:

    CBBC – 73 (from 7am)
    CBeebies – 74 (from 7am)
    BBC Three – 105 (from 7pm)
    BBC Four – 106 (from 7pm)
    BBC News HD – 107 (from 8.30am)

Fans of Al Jazeera will be pleased to learn that an HD version of their service began broadcasting on Freeview on November 26th on channel 108.

However, we’re still waiting to learn when English Regional variants of BBC One HD and variants of BBC Two HD for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will finally air.

These announcements follow the successful launch of BBC One HD in 2010 and, in the past nine months, BBC One Scotland HD, BBC One Wales HD, BBC One Northern Ireland HD and BBC Two HD. Meanwhile, audience demand for HD channels continues to grow. Over 50 per cent of homes in the UK are already HD enabled, with reports estimating that the number of HD homes is expected to grow to reach over 20 million (80 per cent of all UK homes) by 2016 and over 23 million homes (90 per cent of all UK homes) by 2019.

BBC Director-General, Tony Hall, said: “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.”