Telewest has beaten Sky to the punch by launching Britain's first high definition (HD) TV service in the UK. While Sky has opted to hold off until they can launch a nationwide service, Telewest has started trials with a select few in South London.

Over 400 digital TV customers will have access to free HD programmes from BBC Worldwide, including Pride, The Blue Planet and Wild Weather. Movies will also be made available during the commercial pilot, via Telewest's existing relationship with Filmflex.

The HD programmes are offered on the cable company's TV-on-demand service, called Teleport and received on the new TVDrive box. Once the HD programme has been selected, the viewer has DVD-like control, with pause, rewind and fast-forward.

The new PVR box works in a similar way to Sky+ and comes with a hard drive capable of storing around 80 hours of television.

TV Drive is expected to launch nation-wide early next year and will cost £10 per month for customers taking the company's top digital TV package, or £15 per month otherwise.

Consumers can now register their interest in TVDrive at
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