High definition television comes of age today with the launch of the new HD service from Freeview, the UK’s most popular digital TV platform.
- Coverage of Freeview HD on track to reach 50% target by the World Cup
- Channel 4 HD and S4C Clirlun join ITV1 HD and the BBC HD channel on Freeview HD
- £6 million marketing campaign starts this Easter
- Many of the UK’s favourite programmes to be available on Freeview HD
- Freeview+ HD boxes go on sale from next month
High definition television comes of age today with the launch of the new HD service from Freeview, the UK’s most popular digital TV platform. With the arrival of Freeview HD, millions of TV lovers will benefit from free HD channels without installation, offering the quality viewers have come to expect from HD – up to five times more detail than standard definition and the possibility of stunning 5.1 surround sound.
From tomorrow, around 4.5 million new homes will come into Freeview HD coverage for the first time, including the cities of Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff which puts Freeview HD coverage on track to reach up to 50% of the UK by the World Cup.
The UK’s most watched channels are all represented on Freeview’s new HD service. From today, Channel 4 HD is available alongside the BBC HD channel and ITV1 HD. S4C will launch its HD channel Clirlun in Wales on 30 April. Re-affirming their commitment to HD programming and its contribution to the continuing success of Freeview, there will be more HD content than ever before on the BBC HD channel, ITV1 HD channel and Channel 4 HD this year.
The Freeview HD channel line up from launch:
BBC HD: The best of BBC programming is brought together on the BBC HD channel, including for the first time the new series of Doctor Who and Ashes to Ashes which launch in April. In a summer of sporting events, BBC HD will be broadcasting more sport than ever before, with Wimbledon, Queen’s, the World Cup, and for the first time in HD, The Open and the Grand National. The BBC also announces that The Apprentice and Masterchef will launch in HD. Other highlights include Something Special and ZingZillas for children; Over the Rainbow, Top Gear, Antiques Roadshow, as well as almost every music programme from Glastonbury to the Electric Proms.
ITV1 HD: Simulcast of the ITV1 schedule. Upcoming highlights include; the final stages of the UEFA Champions League and The FA Cup as well as England internationals and the FIFA World Cup 2010. For HD Entertainment, there’s the UK’s top rating TV show, Britain’s Got Talent as well as The Whole 19 Yards, 71 Degrees North, and Soccer Aid. HD dramas include Father & Son, Law and Order: UK, Identity, The Prisoner, Foyles War and Lewis. HD documentaries including Joanna Lumley’s Nile, Greatest Cities of the World with Griff Rhys Jones, and the brand new Survival with Ray Mears all in pure HD. ITV1’s Prime Ministerial debate will also be shown in HD.
Channel 4 HD: Simulcast of the Channel 4 schedule. Upcoming highlights include Glee, Jamie Does and Location, Location, Location as well as the best documentaries, current affairs and music. Other popular shows available in HD include The Restoration Man, Desperate Housewives, Hollyoaks and Shameless.
S4C Clirlun: Simulcast of the S4C schedule. Programme highlights will include major Welsh cultural events, drama, exclusive sport, nature and children.
A range of Freeview HD boxes and Freeview HD TVs are available to buy from leading manufacturers including; Sony, Panasonic, Humax and Bush with more to follow from Philips, LG and Samsung in the coming weeks. Freeview+ HD boxes will arrive in shops before the World Cup. Prices of Freeview HD boxes start from £99, Freeview HD TVs from £480 and Freeview+ HD boxes are expected to cost from £250.
Later this week, Freeview will launch its largest marketing campaign to date with a series of TV ads carrying the slogan ‘It feels good to Freeview’. The £6m campaign called ‘Great Combinations’ gives viewers a unique take on HD as scenes from everyday TV programmes are combined with backdrops of established, epic visuals viewers have come to expect from HD. The first of a series of eight ads will break on Saturday, 3rd April and the campaign will run until the end of the World Cup, returning again at Christmas.
Commenting on today’s launch announcement, Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview, said: “Freeview is taking the experience of stunning HD to a new level of access and availability. Our high definition service offers many of the UK’s favourite shows in glorious high definition and as always with Freeview, you just need to buy the equipment and there’s no contract or monthly bills. And with the World Cup just around the corner, there is no better time for viewers to embrace High Definition TV.”
Danielle Nagler, Controller of BBC HD at the BBC said: “It’s important to us that everyone in the UK who wants to, can enjoy the best of the BBC’s programmes in HD. The arrival of HD on Freeview is a big step forward for HD and for UK audiences.”
Peter Fincham, ITV Director of Television, Channels and Online said: ““We have a fantastic range of upcoming programming in HD, in drama, factual and entertainment and live sport – culminating in this summer’s World Cup. The launch of Freeview HD will be a great step in enabling our viewers to enjoy the fantastic picture quality offered by high definition television.”
David Dorans, Head of Distribution & Broadcast Technology at Channel 4 said: “The growing appetite for HD across the UK is clear to see. I am delighted that Channel 4 HD will be available on Freeview and we look forward to delivering to millions more viewers even more of the shows they love in stunning high definition.”
Find out more and check if you can receive Freeview HD at your address here>