BBC HD officially launched on Saturday (December 1), some 18 months after the channel first made its debut as a test service. Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision said she was delighted that the channel was launching officially, a week after BBC HD received its approval from the BBC Trust. “HD is the next generation of television and a real opportunity for programme makers to reach out to the audience in ways they have never done before. HD is a real creative enabler making our programmes even more powerful and outstanding.”
A glance at the opening night sees only a slight difference from the previous weekend’s schedule with Robin Hood and Strictly Come Dancing in the early evening and US import The Company later on. The official BBC HD does open for business a little earlier to transmit The Electric Proms, but the Sunday night Strictly Come Dancing results show is still absent and HD viewers will have to return to BBC One.
Christmas will give BBC HD a real chance to show the breadth of its output with an Extras Christmas Special, movies including Kill Bill, Sin City and The History Boys, BBC original productions including The Tales Of Beatrix Potter With The Royal Ballet, Lessons And Carols From King’s College Cambridge, Carmen, Jools Holland’s Hootenanny and To the Manor Born. The Queen’s Christmas Message will also broadcast in HD for the first time.
BBC HD is available on channel 143 on Sky and on channel 108 on Virgin Media. Channel 4 HD is currently testing and will launch later in the month. ITV’s HD service is slated for the spring.