In plenty of time for the World Cup in June, ITV today announced that its HD channel will be promoted from Freeview and freesat to Sky+ HD and Virgin Media's V+ from 2 April. That means more than just three of us can 'enjoy' potato-headed Wayne Rooney in high definition. Hurrah.
ITV1 HD will also become a standalone channel on Freeview and freesat for the first time this April, where it had previously hidden behind the red button. The newly branded channel will bring more than just the World Cup -- it has roughly half the games, with the other half on BBC HD -- with the majority of ITV1's peak-time content being available in HD, including Law and Order: UK, Lewis and Britain's Got Talent. Shudder.
Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, says: "ITV offers some of the UK's most loved programmes and we're delighted to add them to our growing HD channel line-up.
"This year's World Cup promises some unforgettable games and Virgin Media TV viewers will be able to enjoy every nail-biting, heart-stopping, breath-taking moment in stunning high definition."
The addition comes as both Virgin and Sky announce their own exclusive HD channels, with Virgin gaining the timed exclusivity of Film4 HD this summer. Sky adds both Hallmark Channel HD and Sky Sports 4 HD on 28 June and 29 April respectively. Sky is currently way ahead on HD channels, with 40 in its current stable and a promised 50 by the end of the year.
Hilary Perchard, Sky's director of product management, said, "While other TV platforms are only now recognising the growing demand for HD, we're excited to extend our leadership even further and look forward to reaching our next milestone, of 50 HD channels, by Christmas."
ITV1 HD will be available on freesat channel 119, Freeview 51, Sky 178 and Virgn 113. Bring it on.