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Freeview HD launches, gets Channel 4

Jon Sneur to read the news in hi def

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Freeview has formally launched the HD service it's been highlighting on its website for months and which has been broadcasting for even longer.

Central to the launch is the arrival of Channel 4 on the free-to-air terrestrial service.

Channel 4 HD will today join BBC HD and ITV 1 HD on Freeview HD. Channel 4's Welsh-language counterpart, S4C, will add its HD channel to the stream at the end of April.

Like ITV 1 HD, Channel 4 HD will be a simultaneous broadcast, matching the SD channel's schedule with HD version of what's on. BBC HD continues to be a showcase offering.

State owned but advertising funded Channel 4 said it was "delighted" to be bringing its content to the channel, but we note that that delight doesn't extend to running its other offerings, including Film 4, E4 and More 4, on Freeview.

E4 HD goes live next month on Sky and Virgin Media, while Film 4 HD will be a Virgin exclusive when it launches in the summer.

For its part, Freeview will be spending £6m promoting Freeview HD this year, though some will argue the money would be better spent encouraging other channels to put their HD content on the network. ®

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