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Hi-def from Channel 4 and the BBC is on the way

If you're sick of living in the high definition abyss that is the UK, then you'll be thrilled to hear that Channel 4 is planning an HD channel for Christmas -- and the BBC has got approval to carry on with BBC HD

Here in the UK we've long been the poor cousin to the US and its dozens of high-definition TV channels, which are available over terrestrial airwaves in the case of the main networks. The hi-def party's swinging this way though, with the BBC's HD offering getting Ofcom approval and Channel 4 announcing an HD service too.

Until now, the only way to see hi-def channels in the UK was either to subscribe to Sky HD, which is pretty expensive, or to watch BBC HD, a channel which up until now has been hanging from a thread of regulatory approval, and isn't widely available anyway. The good news for the BBC is it's had the approval it's been seeking from the BBC Trust, as well as the media watchdog Ofcom.

Mere days after this news broke, Channel 4 announced that it would also be joining the HD revolution by providing a simulcast channel. This differs from BBC HD, which takes content from all of the BBC's channels. This is terrific news, as Channel 4 has loads of excellent programmes. And Big Brother. 4HD, as we're speculatively naming it, launches in December and will hopefully feature a hi-def naughty step -- maybe we'll even get to see Jamie seasoning things with lemon juice and chillies in 1080i.

All we need now is Five to hop on board and we'd have a good selection of HD material available. We've avoided mentioning ITV here because with ITV HD comes Coronation Street HD, and no one needs a 720p Les Battersby in their lives. -Ian Morris