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Freeview HD Channels Coming Soon As BBC, ITV and Channel4 Line Up

The big three TV broadcasters have announced that they will be launching Freeview HD channels next year with a fourth channel expected to be switched on as early as 2010, just in time for the 2010 World Cup which will be held in South Africa.

Ofcom unveiled the results of the competitive tender process for the first three HD channels to be rolled out but it will sure annoy some of the 17 million Freeview users across the country who have just purchased a bog standard Freeview box.

The new Channels will need a brand new Freeview HD-compatible set top box though which will need to support DVB-T2 and MPEG4 technology.

Granada will get Freeview HD services first followed by Wales, Scotland and the West Country a year later; Central, Yorkshire, Anglia and Meridian in 2011 and London, Tyne Tees and Ulster just in time for the Olympics.

Freesat HD Digital Boxes (opens in new tab), which start from £199.99 including installation (that's £119.99 for the box (opens in new tab) and £80 for the installation), could prove to be a better value since the coverage is much better and prices will go down as the technology matures.

Virgin and Sky also offer HD channels in their TV bundle although they come at a price. The availability of free to watch HD channels soon means that they will almost certainly add them to their offerings.

As a side note, BBC, ITV and Channel Four are best buddies on the highly expected commercial version of the iPlayer, known as Kangaroo.

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.