The BBC has announced it will be launching a high definition simulcast of its flagship channel BBC One, starting in the autumn.
Production of HD content is being expanded considerably to include many of the BBC’s most popular shows including EastEnders, Holby City (pictured) and The One Show. There are also plans to upgrade Songs of Praise, Casualty, Match of the Day, A Question Of Sport, and Blue Peter to the HD format.
BBC One HD will be made available across Freesat, Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media, sitting alongside the existing BBC HD channel. On the Freeview terrestrial platform it will effectively take the capacity turned down by Five.
BBC HD will itself receive an increase in hours from nine to 12 hours a day.
“BBC HD has established itself as the most popular HD service, and these changes are important next steps in improving that service still further, providing an opportunity to showcase the wide variety of BBC programmes in the highest possible quality,” said Jana Bennett, director, BBC Vision. “We recognise that audiences have already been enjoying many of their favourite programmes in HD, and I’m delighted that we can now broaden their choice.”
There are already HD simulcasts of two of the other networked channels; ITV1 and Channel 4 with Five expected to start later this year on the Sky platform.
The majority of programmes in the BBC One network evening schedule will be available in HD at launch, and by 2012 it is expected that the vast majority of all BBC One titles across all hours will be in HD.
The BBC HD channel will effectively become the “best of the rest” picking up HD content from the rest of the BBC channel portfolio including Top Gear, the Proms, Later… With Jools Holland, The Culture Show, Dragons’ Den, Being Human, Mad Men and Wimbledon.