Record high definition TVTelewest launches UK's first HDTV service

15 March 2006

Cable giant Telewest has claimed victory in the race to launch Britain's first nationwide high-definition TV (HDTV) service.

Telewest subscribers get access to HDTV by signing up to the company's new personal video recorder (PVR), called TVDrive, which is the first cable PVR in the UK and comes as a set-top box.

A PVR allows you to pause and rewind live TV then resume watching where you left off. You can also use it to record two programmes while watching a third. TVDrive can store about 80 hours of programmes.

Subscribers to TVDrive will be able to watch HDTV programmes from BBC Worldwide. However, they'll need an HD-ready TV set as well as the set-top box in order to watch HD programmes.

Cost of TVDrive

TVDrive costs GBP 10 to GBP 15 a month on top of a Telewest subscription, which is GBP 16 - GPB 28 a month, depending on which package you have. The more expensive the package, the cheaper the subscription to TVDrive.

Mike Briggs, Which? technology expert, said:'We expect Sky to follow soon with an HDTV service with even more programmes. We'll be testing Telewest's service - and Sky's as soon as it launches - and reporting our results in Which?.

'HDTV picture quality is amazing, but to get it, consumers need to buy an HD-ready TV. We'll be revealing soon the results of our latest tests to find the best ones.'

Mike added:'Telewest pricing structures are a minefield for consumers. We wish the company would simplify them.'

Telewest's Philip Snalune, said: 'HDTV is set to become this year's must-have home entertainment experience and Telewest customers are the first in the UK to get access to it.

'We'll add more choice of high-definition viewing this year... Viewers no longer need be tied to the schedule and can now watch what they want, when they want, with unparalleled picture quality.'