Sky today confirmed that its new HD service will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 12 April and installations are due to begin in May, allowing customers in the UK and Ireland to enjoy a wide range of HD channels for the first time.

Customers will pay £299 for the Sky HD box with a Sky HD subscription of £10 a month in addition to their Sky digital subscription.

Sky has also announced that the new HD box will be equipped with 160GB of personal storage space, considerably less that was intitially implied at the launch event earlier this year.

This means customers should be able to record around 30 hours of HD programmes or 80 hours of standard definition.

The Sky HD box will offer Sky+ functionality, allowing Sky+ subscribers to pause and rewind live TV, record two channels simultaneously and automatically record every episode of a selected series.

Customers will be able to book a Sky HD installation on, via selected retail outlets or by calling the Sky HD dedicated customer telephone number 08702 40 40 20.