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BBC One HD prepares for launch

Viewers who have a high definition service can now watch BBC One in HD following the launch of a new channel.

BBC One HD went live at 7pm on 3 November on all HD platforms and will simulcast programmes that are being shown on BBC One.

BBC One HD is available on Freesat channel 108, Freeview channel 50, Sky channel 143 and Virgin Media channel 108.

The BBC says the majority of peak time programmes will be made in HD while those shows made in standard definition (SD) will be upscaled.

Upscaling means the number of lines in the SD picture is effectively doubled – from 576 to 1080 – to fill the high definition screen.  However, as the original material is still SD, the quality of the picture will not be equivalent to HD.

Ofcom research has shown that more and more viewers are switching to high definition services. This year’s Communications Market Report revealed that sales of HD ready TV sets have now passed 24 million in the UK, while five million households have signed up to HD services through pay TV, freesat and Freeview services.

How to get HD

There are several ways to get HD. But first of all you’ll need a TV that can show HD pictures. Television sets with the ‘HD Ready’ logo have a screen that can display sharper pictures.


To watch HD channels on Freeview you will first need to check whether Freeview HD is available where you live. You can check your address by visiting the Freeview website. You will also need a Freeview HD set top box, or an integrated Freeview HD TV.

Freeview HD is being rolled out in line with the existing digital switchover schedule and will eventually be available to 98.5% of UK households by the end of 2012.


You can also watch free HD programmes via the BBC/ITV and Sky Freesat services.

Pay TV

Paid for HD services are also available from Sky and Virgin Media, through Satellite or cable. However, you will need to subscribe to their HD packages, which involves getting a HD set-top-box.

What HD channels are available?

The launch of BBC One HD will increase the number of HD channels available on Freeview to five. These also include BBC HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD and S4C Clirlun. There are  additional HD channels available on Sky and Virgin Media.

We have put together a video which explains more about what you need to watch HD.

It looks at what equipment is required as well as the various high definition services that are currently available.

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