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Channel 4 HD to join freesat in April

The free satellite TV service will be adding Channel 4's excellent HD service in April, while Freeview HD is now watched in over 600,000 homes.

freesat HD viewers will have access to one more HD channel from April, with the launch of Channel 4's superb HD simulcast channel. 

We're glad, because people often ask us which is the best free platform for digital TV. Until now, we've recommended Freeview HD for its slightly better HD channel selection. But with Channel 4 HD joining the freesat gang, the playing field is level once again. 

The HD channel line-up on freesat is now BBC One HD and BBC HD, ITV1 HD and, from April, Channel 4 HD. ITV's newly launched high-definition versions of ITV2, 3 and 4 are still premium channels only available on Sky.

Today's announcement comes almost a year after 4 HD joined the Freeview HD lineup, and three years after the channel first launched on Sky. Like BBC One HD, it's all the same content as the non-HD channel, broadcast at the same time, but with all programmes that are available in HD presented as such.

freesat HD boxes are widely available, start at about £80 and can be connected to your existing satellite dish. It's been popular with former Sky customers who want a greater channel selection that Freeview can offer, but don't want to keep shelling out for Sky. If you don't have a dish already, you can have one put in for about £90 by a local installer.

There's good news today for Freeview HD too, which is now watched in an estimated 642,000 homes. Interestingly, over 1 million Freeview HD boxes and TVs have been sold to date, so nearly half of those people who've bought Freeview HD kit can't use it yet -- because the service hasn't been rolled out to their area.

Two million more will have access to it by the time of the royal wedding though, and it'll cover 98.5 per cent of homes by the time the Olympics rolls around in 2012.