The BBC has formally announced it will roll out a high definition version of its TV catch up service iPlayer.

The announcement follows comments by Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, at the Financial Times' Digital Media conference in London last month, which revealed the broadcaster's plans for iPlayer HD. The BBC said popular shows Doctor Who and Dragons Den would be among the programmes available to watch in high definition.

Head of digital media technology at the BBC, Anthony Rose, told BBC News: "Introducing HD streams allows users to enjoy BBC programmes in HD without a set-top box".

According to the BBC, the new-look iPlayer will identify the speed of a web user's internet connection and automatically adjust the streaming quality to suit as well as letting viewers customise the size of viewing window.

"The new adaptive bitrate technology and speed diagnostics page help optimise the viewing experience, while the resizable window gives users flexibility to switch between different quality streams, hopefully leading to a more satisfying experience overall," added Rose.