The BBC has announced plans to launch five new high definition channels for 2014, while Freeview is set to gain 10 more HD channels. We explain the stations you’ll soon be tuning into and how to make sure you receive them.
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What are the new channels and when will they be available?
The Beeb plans to launch five new BBC HD channels in early 2014 that will join BBC One HD and the recently launched BBC Two HD, which replaced the BBC HD channel. The new channels will be:
- BBC News HD
- BBC Three HD
- BBC Four HD
- CBeebies HD
- CBBC HD
Thanks to this new roster of channels, the BBC reckons we’ll get 50 hours more HD viewing every week than we do at the moment. Unlike the former BBC HD channel that only showed a selection of BBC programs in HD, these new channels will broadcast the same shows, in HD form, as their standard definition siblings.
Will I be able to receive the new channels?
Most likely, if you already receive existing free-to-air HD channels over Freeview HD, satellite (Freesat HD or Sky), or cable (Virgin Media). Otherwise, you need a device with a built-in Freeview HD or Freesat HD tuner.
All TVs come with a built-in digital TV tuner to receive free-to-air TV channels, but some only have a Freeview tuner which receives channels in standard definition. A Freeview HD or Freesat HD tuner can receive both standard definition channels and the high-definition versions, currently BBC One HD, BBC Two HD, ITV1 HD and Channel 4 HD.
Whereas Freesat HD requires a satellite dish, Freeview HD requires a decent aerial that’s in good condition – either a rooftop aerial or, if you can’t use one, a good indoor aerial. Read our indoor aerial reviews to make sure you avoid buying a poor quality one.
The number of channels you can receive over Freeview and Freeview HD depends on what the digital coverage is like at your address – use the Freeview coverage checker to find out.
What about 4G interference?
There’s been a lot of coverage around 4G and Freeview interference recently with concerns that 90,000 households could suffer from interference. A new company, at800, has been set up by the mobile operators to help solve problems that arise. If your household could potentially be affected, you will be contacted up to 12 weeks before 4G transmissions start in your area and issued with a free signal filter to connect to your TV.
This filter should solve any poor quality and loss of channels but, in the case it doesn’t, all the new BBC channels will be available to watch on demand via BBC iPlayer using any compatible device.
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