The first transmitters for Freeview HD have been switched on at the Crystal Palace and Winter Hill transmitting stations in what's being described by engineers as a "technical launch" ahead of the widespread availability of the service early in 2010.

That makes the UK the first country in the world to have an operational TV service running at the DVB-T2 standard, though equipment to receive the signals isn't due until February or March next year, when boxes like the Humax FOX-HD-T2 come onto the market.

At the moment, the masts cover 22-23% of the UK population, however at launch that's planned to be 40%, rising to 50% in time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. There'll be a coverage checker appearing on Freeview's website in early January, from which you'll be able to check which channels you'll be able to receive.