BBC HD, the UK's first free-to-air high definition television channel, has now officially launched out of its test phase and is available on satellite and cable.

Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, said: "HD is the next generation of television and a real opportunity for programme-makers to reach out to the audience in ways they have never done before. HD is a real creative enabler making our programmes even more powerful and outstanding".

Seetha Kumar, Head of BBC HD, said "We are already recognised for setting the benchmark for quality in HD programming. We start with a fabulous weekend of TV – Strictly Come Dancing, Electric Proms with Paul McCartney, Earth - Power of the Planet and Cranford to name a few".

"Our Christmas schedule is also fantastic, with the likes of Extras Christmas Special, major blockbuster movies such as Kill Bill, Sin City and The History Boys alongside shows like The Tales Of Beatrix Potter With The Royal Ballet, Lessons And Carols From King's College Cambridge, Carmen, Jools Holland's Hootenanny and To the Manor Born and, for the first time, The Queen's Christmas Broadcast. There really is something for everyone."

BBC HD is available on channel 143 on Sky and on channel 108 on Virgin Media.