Telewest has pipped Sky to the punch to be the first to offer HD quality television in the UK.

Available to over 4.5 million homes, the launch comes on the back of Telewest launching its new personal video recorder (PVR), called TVDrive.

Consumers will be able to subscribe to the TVDrive set-top box and watch free HD programmes from BBC Worldwide like The Blue Planet, however no live programmes as yet are available.

The HD programmes are offered via the cable company's TV-on-demand service, called Teleport, which provides instant access to a huge library of viewing at the touch of a button.

HD programmes have up to five times as many pixels as standard TV broadcasts, meaning crystal clear pictures, even on the biggest plasma and LCD TVs.

Working in a similar way to Sky Plus, TVDrive offers storage for around 80 hours of TV and record button to save their favourite shows.

However hoping to out do the satellite company, Telewest has added a further tuner so you can watch two channels can be recorded whilst watching a third.

TV Drive costs £10 per month for customers taking the company's top digital TV package, or £15 per month otherwise. Unlike existing PVRs, there are no large purchasing costs and maintenance is included in the monthly fee.

The service is available now.

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