BBC HD was a high-definition television channel provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007 before closing on 26 March 2013. The channel only broadcast during the afternoon and evening and would only broadcast material shot in High Definition, either in a simulcast with another channel or by inserting a repeat of a HD programme.
The channel featured a mix of programming including new episodes of Top Gear, Doctor Who and Hustle, repeats of HD programmes including Planet Earth, Bleak House and Torchwood as well as live coverage of large events such as The Proms, Wimbledon, the Eurovision Song Contest and the FIFA World Cup.
The channel was replaced by a HD simulcast of BBC Two, partly as a result of budget cuts affecting the entire corporation.
BBC HD began as a trial station on 15 May 2006 to test the possibility and technical practicality of broadcasting programmes in HD. The first programme to be broadcast that was specifically made for HD was natural history programme Planet Earth, which was shown on the 27 May 2006. The trial by 450 businesses and homes was set to last until June 2007, however just before this deadline the BBC Trust began a Public Value Test of the service to determine whether, as the BBC argued, the service was of worth to the general public. As a result, the HD service was extended throughout the testing period which began on 21 May. The result of the test was announced on 19 November that they had approved the BBC Executive's high definition television proposals to allow the launch of UK's first free-to-air, mixed-genre public service HD channel.
The channel officially launched on 1 December 2007 although much of the programme makeup and format of the broadcasts remained the same from the trial. This new channel was nationwide and platform neutral, in that it was carried by all providers as a free to air channel. This channel, as recommended by the BBC Trust's Public Value Test, broadcast only for around nine hours a day during prime time and only showed programmes made specifically for HD. The channel would air programmes from across the BBC channels.
This arrangement continued until 2010, when the increase in HD content saw several changes. 2010 had been the BBC's internal deadline for the majority of new content to be produced in HD and as a result the broadcast space was fast running out. As a result, on 3 November 2010, BBC One HD launched as a separate simulcast of the channel and at approximately the same time, BBC HD's broadcast hours were extended to twelve hours a day. The channel now catered for the programming of the BBC's channels other than BBC One.
From 2011, the channel also began to experiment with showing select programmes in 3D. The first such broadcasts were the live men's and women's finals of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and continued with the broadcast of that year's Strictly Come Dancing final in December. 2012 saw one of the most ambitious levels of 3D coverage with the BBC screening the opening and closing ceremonies and the men's 100m final of the 2012 Summer Olympics including a daily highlights programme in 3D. In addition to this, the channel also broadcast in 3D the men's and women's finals of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, the natural history programme Planet Dinosaur Ultimate Killers in August, the second-half of the Last Night of the Proms on 8 September 2012, the adaptation of Mr Stink on 23 December 2012 and Killer Dinosaurs and the Royal Christmas Message on 25 December.
The channel's programmes were sourced from every BBC channel and were of a mixed genre. The channel would only broadcast productions made in high definition and would not upscale any programmes from standard definition for use on the channel - in contrast to the BBC One HD and BBC Two HD simulcast services. Any individual programme could contain of up to 25 per cent non-HD material converted from SD, for example archive shots in a documentary. Some high definition recording formats like HDV as well as some film formats like 16 mm are considered by BBC to be "non-HD". As many of the BBC's top productions were made in HD from soon after the channel launched, many of these productions were broadcast on the station at some point.
List of Shows Edit
- Kirstie's Fill Your House For Free
- An Idiot Abroad
- Life Is Toff
- Top Gear
- Animal Super Senses
- Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan
- Operation Wild
- Mud, Sweat and Gears
- Michela's Classic Italian
- Life Story
- Life Below Zero
- Human Universe
- Paul Hollywood’s Bread
- Death in Paradise
- The Graham Norton Show