Telewest wins HD race

For ages it looked like Sky HD being your first ticket to high-def TV. Like a British long-distance runner, though, it's led most of the race only to

For ages it looked like Sky HD being your first ticket to high-def TV. Like a British long-distance runner, though, it's led most of the race only to be pipped by a sprint finish from Telewest.

The bad news is that only a tiny group can get recieve the content – rather than go for a national launch, Telewest has cleverly taken the tape by starting trials today in South London. The lucky recipients will now be able to enjoy a spectrum of free HD programmes from the BBC plus, at a later date, some films.

The content is supplied by the company's on-demand service Teleport, and received by the TVDrive box pictured above. It's by no means the most attractive set-top box in the world with its bug-eyes, but the hardware credentials are certainly impressive.

Like Sky+, you can record two programmes at once on the 160Gb hard drive and perform live pause on a third channel, while output is in both 720p and 1080i. It's also bagged content from the BBC, so you'll be able to get a preview of its gloriously-rendered programmes before its own trials start next summer.

The TVDrive's nationwide launch will be in Q1 next year and will cost from £10 a month.  More info can be found at this website.

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