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How to get HD High Definition TV


HD LogoIf you're looking to buy new TV equipment, such as a set-top box or a digital TV set, you may want to think about getting HD.

HD offers better picture quality, sharper images and more detail. At the time of writing, there are over 50 HD TV channels now broadcasting in the UK, and this doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

So, how do you go "High Definition?

For TV in the UK, there are three options:

  • HD via a TV aerial - This is known as Freeview HD
  • HD via a satellite dish - Either with Sky or Freesat
  • HD via cable - If you're in a Virgin Media cable TV area

Let's look at the three options:


Freeview HD via an aerial

Channels: There are four channels on offer: BBC One HD, BBC Two HD, ITV 1 HD and Channel 4 HD

Freeview HD Channels


What you need:

  • You need to be in a Freeview HD coverage area (Check here)
  • You need a suitable TV aerial (good enough to get the Freeview channels)
  • You need a TV set that supports HD. This will be labelled as an "HD TV" or an "HD Ready TV" - More on this later!
  • A Freeview HD receiver. This could be a "Freeview HD TV" (a TV with a built-in Freeview HD receiver), or a Freeview HD set-top box.


HD via satellite

By far the widest choice for HD comes from Sky. Over 60 channels of gorgeous HD with channels such as BBC One, ITV 1, Channel 4, Sky One, Sky Atlantic, SyFy, Sky Sports, E4, ESPN, Living, Sky Movies, Discovery Channel and many more.

Sky HD BoxYou'll also get a set-top box capable of recording hundreds of hours of TV.

For information on getting Sky HD, go to , or see our Sky Digital page.

For Sky's HD service, you do have to pay a monthly subscription. If you want HD but don't want the subscription, there's Freesat, but it's only offering BBC and ITV channels in HD.


HD from Virgin Media

If you're in a Virgin Cable TV area, you will be able to sign up to Virgin's cable TV service and get over 20 channels, including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery, Sky 1, Eurosport and SyFy.

For information on getting Virgin HD, go to Virgin's HD site , or see our Virgin Media page.


What does "HD Ready" Mean?

A TV set that is labelled as "HD Ready" means that it does not have an HD Receiver built-in, and you will need to connect it to an HD source of some kind, such as a set-top box, Blu-ray player or HD games console.

To be clear:

An "HD Ready" TV set may be able to get Freeview, but the Freeview receiver won't be able to get the newer Freeview HD service. If you have an "HD Ready" Freeview TV set, you'll need a Freeview HD box to get able to get Freeview HD.

If you want a TV set that supports Freeview HD without a box, get an "HD TV with Freeview HD"


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