There are various ways to access HD TV channels; Sky and Virgin Media offer subscription-based services and boast the widest selection available to UK consumers. Non-subscription HD services like Freesat and Freeview HD only require a single payment for the necessary hardware to enable you to start enjoying your favourite shows and movies with a picture quality that is five times better than standard TV.
For those looking for HD TV on demand, Sky Movies Box Office and Virgin Media's Film Flex offer a wide range of film and TV in fantastic HD. The latest HD and Freeview-ready television sets often feature ways to access your internet connection. Once your TV is connected to your home internet, you can take advantage of various free and subscription-based video streaming services like BBC iPlayer and 4oD. Falling behind with your favourite soaps like Eastenders and Coronation Street need never be an issue again.
So how can you access HD content? Satellite or cable subscription services offer the most comprehensive HD channel packages, with Sky+ HD boasting an impressive 20 HD channels. Virgin Media's TV XL deal is close behind that with 17 HD channels available. If you do not wish to sign up to a subscription service, HD channels are available on Freesat (6) and Freeview HD (4). As well as giving access to an impressive range of HD channels, comprehensive packages like Sky+ HD and V+ HD also allow viewers to pause and rewind live TV, record 2 programmes at the same time and schedule the recording of entire series'.
With critically acclaimed movies like Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and Drive now available on pay-per-view subscription services like Sky Movies Box Office HD, a cosy night in front of the TV just got a lot more appealing. Access to Sky's movie channels costs extra on both Sky and Virgin Media's subscription packages, although deals are available to customers to allow access to both Sky Movies and Sky Sports channels for a discounted monthly rate.
To access digital channels, all you need is a set-top box that is capable of receiving digital TV signal. Most new television sets come with a digital receiver built in, but if you want to take advantage of HD TV channels, you will need an 'HD-ready' set. These are identifiable by a sticker on the set itself, or a logo on the packaging.
Sport really benefits from an HD picture and fans of sport are spoilt for choice this winter, as a host of events are scheduled for the colder months. Football fans can look forward to the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, while Golf enthusiasts will have the Qatar Masters to enjoy. The cricket season also gets under way with action-packed Twenty-20 internationals.
The only sports channels included in Virgin Media's TV XL deal are ESPN HD and Eurosport HD. Access to Sky's sport channels is available, but it costs extra: £14.50 per month for either Sky Sports 1 or 2, or £22.50 for Sky Sports 1-4 and Sky Sports F1 when it launches in March. Sky Movies and Sky Sports can be purchased in a bundle for £29.50 per month on Virgin Media on top of any other service charges.
2012 is shaping up to be a great year for sport. Even after winter has ended there are a host of fantastic sporting events to keep you entertained, including the Premier League run in, the Cheltenham Festival, the FA Cup and Champions League finals and The Masters Golf. The summer should prove a spectacular time for sport fans; a fortnight of the best players in the European game battling it out in Euro 2012 followed by the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The BBC confirmed last year they will be offering coverage in 'super' HD which, according to experts boasts picture quality that is 16x better than HDTV.
The movies that will be available later in the year include Academy Award winners The Artist and Hugo, as well as nominees The Tree of Life and The Descendants. All will be available in rich, pristine and luscious HD. For more information, please visit: http://www.digitalchoices.co.uk/hd-tv/hd-coverage-checker.html
For more information, visit: http://www.digitalchoices.co.uk