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Four UK HDTV Channels available by 2012

Ofcom, UK's communications watchdog (opens in new tab), has announced that it would push for free HDTV content to appear on Freeview.

The four main terrestrial actors - BBC, ITV, Channel4 and Five, have signed an agreement to launch HDTV content during a period extending from 2009 to 2012 although Freeview won't come until later

BBC'content will be available only via Sky, Cable and Freesat for the time being with the corporation saying that HD footage will be shown for nine hours a days with a fifth of the content being movies and sport.

BBC Director of Vision, Jana Bennet, added that: "BBC HD will be available on cable, satellite and - in due course - on digital terrestrial and the internet. HD is the next generation of television, offering the richest, most intense viewing experience imaginable. Audiences can look forward to the likes of Earth - Power Of The Planet, Cranford, Torchwood, Hammonds Heroes, Diary Of Anne Frank, Around The World In 80 Gardens and Live At The Apollo in extraordinary sound and vision. "

More HDTV content (opens in new tab) will push more households to adopt HD television and will probably be the last nail in the coffins of both analogue content and CRT screens.

However, it looks as if punters will have to fork out extra for compatible set top box while TV tuners for PCs and Personal Recorders will have a hard time keeping up with the huge flow of information.

Back in June 2006, 450 subscribers (opens in new tab) had the opportunity to trial Freeview HD using existing aerial and their experience was more than satistactory.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.