HD versions of ITV, Channel 4 and BBC coming to Freeview HD in 2009

Let us speak for all of the UK when we inhale a deep breath of fresh air and say: "Finally!" After hearing earlier this year that plans were in place for Freeview to take the HD plunge in the UK, Ofcom has just made it official. Beginning next year, ITV, Channel 4 and BBC will launch high-def channels on the platform, with an expected go-live date of "late autumn" 2009. It was also confirmed that a fourth HD channel was expected to launch by 2010. As for coverage areas, it's slated to be available in the Granada region next year, followed by Wales, Scotland and the West Country in 2010; Central, Yorkshire, Anglia and Meridian in 2011; and London, Tyne Tees and Ulster by 2012. Oh, and we hate to burst your bubble somewhat, but an all-new set-top-box will be required to juggle both the MPEG-4 and DVB-T2 standards -- bugger!

[Thanks, Ruaidhri]