Rogers Cable in Ontario has introduced a new free auto-tuning feature for high definition (HD) cable customers called Auto HD.

The way it works is that when a viewer tunes into a standard definition channel below channel 100, Auto HD checks to see if an HD version of the channel exists and, provided the customer subscribes to both versions, automatically switches over to the HD Version.

The benefit for viewers is they will always be watching the high definition channel even if they have inadvertently selected the standard definition version or if they were unaware that an HD version of the channel now existed.

Auto HD only works for channels 1 through 99. This is done so customers who still want access to standard definition channels can tune into them above channel 100. The SD versions are remain available to customers that wish to watch or record the SD versions of their favourite programs, perhaps because the HD version is stretched or to reduce the amount of storage space used on their PVR.

For example in Barrie, the Auto Tune HD Channel for CBC Television is channel #6 so any HD customer tuning to channel #6 on an HD set top box will be tuned to CBC HD on channel #518. Conversely, a standard definition customers in Barrie tuning into channel #6 would only see the SD version of CBC. If, for whatever reason, a Barrie HD customer wanted to see the CBC in standard definition, they could tune to the duplicate CBC SD channel which can be found on Channel #127.

Rogers says Auto HD functionality is transparent to users and will have no effect on parental controls or favourites settings.

Discuss Rogers Auto HD in Digital Home's Rogers Digital Cable forum .