BBC launching five new HD channels this week

The BBC is to launch five new free-to-air HD channels tomorrow, adding high definition simulcasts of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBeebies and CBBC to its line-up of services.

The HD channels will be available on the Freeview HD, Freesat HD, YouView, Sky HD and Virgin Media platforms.

Viewers will also be able to catch-up on HD programmes from these channels on BBC iPlayer.

On the Freeview HD and YouView platforms, BBC Three HD and CBBC HD will use capacity on the BBC’s existing HD multiplex, which has universal coverage of UK homes. BBC News HD, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD will use new HD capacity, which the BBC says will extend to cover 70% of UK homes by the Wimbledon Championships in June 2014.

The channels will broadcast HD versions of the same programmes as their standard definition equivalents. The BBC said that over 50% of UK homes are already HD enabled and cited reports that HD penetration is likely to reach 80% by 2016.

The BBC already broadcasts HD versions of BBC One, launched in 2010, and BBC One Scotland HD, BBC One Wales HD, BBC One Northern Ireland HD and BBC Two HD, all of which have launched in the last 15 months.

“I am delighted that we’re able to launch our new HD channels in time for Christmas, when families gather together toenjoy some of the best TV from the BBC. This year, people will be able to watch even more of our programmes in brilliant quality,” said BBC director general Tony Hall.