Freeview HD has finally officially launched, bringing free high definition televisions through the airwaves with no need for a satellite or cable connection.

Although people will need a Freeview HD ready box, the subscription-free progression of Freeview will bring events like the World Cup in high definition to a huge audience.

"High definition television comes of age today with the launch of the new HD service from Freeview, the UK's most popular digital TV platform," said Freeview's release.

Benefit

"With the arrival of Freeview HD, millions of TV lovers will benefit from free HD channels without installation, offering the quality viewers have come to expect from HD - up to five times more detail than standard definition and the possibility of stunning 5.1 surround sound," it added

"From tomorrow, around 4.5 million new homes will come into Freeview HD coverage for the first time, including the cities of Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff which puts Freeview HD coverage on track to reach up to 50% of the UK by the World Cup."

Only three channels will be available from launch, with the BBC HD channel, a dedicated channel from ITV - ITV1 HD - and Channel 4 HD (or S4C) all up and running.

Access and availability

"Freeview is taking the experience of stunning HD to a new level of access and availability, said Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview.

"Our high definition service offers many of the UK's favourite shows in glorious high definition and as always with Freeview, you just need to buy the equipment and there's no contract or monthly bills.

"And with the World Cup just around the corner, there is no better time for viewers to embrace High Definition TV."

Danielle Nagler, Controller of BBC HD at the BBC added: "It's important to us that everyone in the UK who wants to, can enjoy the best of the BBC's programmes in HD.

"The arrival of HD on Freeview is a big step forward for HD and for UK audiences."