HD is finally hitting the free-to-air market, with not only the BBC but ITV and Channel 4 also bringing high definition channels to Freeview.

For people in the right television regions, Channel 4, ITV's prime-time television and BBC's already popular HD channel will be available to Freeview viewers – although people who want to view the service will have to buy a DVB-T2 enabled Freeview box.

People in the Granada region will have access to the new service next year; Wales, Scotland and the West Country will have it by 2010; Central, Yorkshire, Anglia and Meridian by 2011 and London, Tyne Tees and Ulster by 2012.

South Africa 2010

For many football fans – this will mean that the 2010 World Cup should be available over Freeview in glorious high-definition.

"Freeview viewers will get a taste of high definition from next year, but that's all they can look forward to because Ofcom has blocked any expansion of Freeview to allow a wider range of HD or local TV channels," What Satellite and Digital TV Editor Alex Lane told TechRadar.

Ofcom revealed that three licences had been given out, the first to the ITV, STV, UTV and Channel TV – who will air prime time shows in HD, the second to Channel 4 who will simulcast and the final one to the BBC.

HD is slowly winning over a decent percentage of the viewing public, who are beginning to get the message that having an HD Ready television does not mean that you are watching HD television unless you have the right input.

Currently satellite broadcaster Sky offers an extensive HD service for an additional fee to its normal subscriptions. Virgin Media also offers limited live HD and a more extensive catalogue of on demand HD films and television programmes.

The arrival of HD on Freeview should provide another huge push into the HD era – offering a cheaper alternative to the current offerings – and almost certainly extending the number of HD channels on both Virgin and Sky.

UPDATED: With missing TV regions