BBC to launch five new HD channels

BBCThe BBC have announced five new subscription-free HD channels will launch in the coming months.

BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBBC HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD will all be made available by early 2014 on satellite, Freeview and Virgin Media.

The BBC Trust have approved the new HD channels for launch.

It’s been possible to launch these channels on Freeview thanks to new capacity made available by Ofcom – more details on this can be found on their website.

The official press release from the BBC Media Centre reports:

“The five new HD channels will be broadcast on satellite, covering approximately 99 per cent of UK homes from launch. On digital terrestrial television (Freeview HD and YouView), BBC Three HD and CBBC HD will use capacity on the BBC’s existing HD multiplex, which has 98.5 per cent coverage of UK homes. BBC News HD, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD will use new HD capacity, which will cover part of the UK and grow in coverage over time. Further information on this new digital terrestrial television capacity can be found in the press releases issued today by Ofcom and Arqiva. The five new HD channels will also be offered to TV platform operators that run their own networks, such as cable TV and IPTV operators”.

All of the new HD channels will be simulcasts of their standard definition equivalents.

It’s also been announced “the BBC will present to the BBC Trust a proposal 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”.

Click here to read the BBC’s press release in full.

Drama launches and other UKTV changes

DramaNew channel Drama has launched this week.

Drama, a new channel from UKTV, can be found on Sky channel 291 and Freeview channel 20. Carriage on Virgin Media is still pending negotiations.

Due to the new launch, Gold on the terrestrial subscription service Top Up TV moves from channel 20 to 26, Blighty has ceased broadcasting and Eden’s standard definition channel has moved to Sky channel 534.

Blighty to be replaced with Drama this month

DramaIt has been confirmed Blighty will close to make way for Drama this month.

UKTV-owned Blighty will close down at 3am on the 5th July to be replaced with new UKTV channel Drama which launches on the 8th July.

Blighty launched back in 2004 – originally called UKTV People before rebranding to its current name in 2009.

Drama will be available on Freeview channel 20 (ousting Top Up TV channel Gold to a different EPG position), Sky and Virgin Media.

See for more information on the channel.

Sky Sports no longer available on Top Up TV

Sky Sports 1 and 2 have ceased broadcasting on Top Up TV.

ESPN will also stop broadcasting on the service at the end of July.

It was hoped a deal could be reached with BT to carry their new BT Sport channels but this didn’t happen.

Top Up TV state on their website they “have negotiated some exceptional deals with Sky on your behalf” and that customers should contact Sky to find out more about those deals.

Sky Sports