The BBC has revealed that it will launch five new subscription-free HD channels. BBC News HD, BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD will launch by early 2014 and will be offered to all digital television platforms that carry HD channels.
The channels will give viewers access to a further 250 hours of HD programmes per week, broadcasting in HD the same content as their standard definition equivalents. The majority of programmes from the channels will also be available to watch on demand via BBC iPlayer.
Within the next six months the BBC will present a proposal to the BBC Trust, covering the technical options and timetable to launch English Regional variants of BBC One HD and variants of BBC Two HD for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“BBC One HD and BBC Two HD have already proved to be highly valued by our audiences and I’m delighted that we’re able to follow this with the launch of five new subscription-free BBC HD channels by early 2014,” said BBC director general, Tony Hall. “These new channels will allow us to showcase more of our programming at its very best.”
The corporation’s first HD channel, BBC One HD, launched in 2010, followed by BBC One Scotland HD, BBC One Wales HD, BBC One Northern Ireland HD and BBC Two HD. Over 50% of homes in the UK are already HD enabled, and demand for HD channels continues to grow: reports estimate that the number of HD homes will grow to 90% by 2019.