Freeview HD has formally been rolled out in the UK as high definition content becomes more widely available for a broader audience with no monthly outlay.
Apart from the initial costs, which consists of a Freeview HD device (STB or television), and any installation, users will be able to view programmes in high definition for free.
In a press release issued, Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview, said: "Freeview is taking the experience of stunning HD to a new level of access and availability" before adding that "with the World Cup just around the corner, there is no better time for viewers to embrace High Definition TV.”
Three HD channels - Channel 4, ITV and BBC - are initially available with 50 others standard definition channels. Several more will be added by the end of the year.
Admittedly, a HD ready television which normally comes with a HDMI port will be required to experience high definition as it is meant to be. Nearly five million households will be able to access the new service with the appropriate equipment.
Freeview will be spending a whopping £12 million over the next few months on online and offline advertising to publicise the launch of the HD channels on the new digital terrestrial TV service.
As for Freeview + HD boxes, they will go on sale towards the end of April with models from 3View, Humax and Panasonic likely to cost from £300 upwards.
Freeview HD is finally here albeit with a limited number of channels and not as much content as one would have wished. Still, it means that Sky cannot crow about being the only one in the yard with HD content. Virgin is also set to offer HD content soon for free.