Television

BBC to launch HDTV services by mid-2006

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MUMBAI: The BBC is all set to enter the world of high-definition television (HDTV) in 2006 and also aims to test the format on digital terrestrial TV in London. And will simulcast some of its most popular programmes in the HD format. The Corporation aims to produce all its programmes in high-definition format by 2010.

The current series Bleak House and Rome have been made in HDTV, which requires a compatible TV and receiver. The BBC site adds that the HDTV provides a sharper, clearer and more colourful image than the current standard television picture. This is due to the way the picture is filmed, broadcast and displayed on compatible HDTV sets, which use a greater number of pixels to display images than on a standard television set.

BBC director general Mark Thompson has pledged to deliver free-to-air HDTV on all BBC digital platforms "as soon as practical", which is expected to be by about 2010. The BBC trials aim to test out how HDTV broadcasts are transmitted and received. The corporation said they would not affect the reception of current channels.

The BBC trials aim to test out how HDTV broadcasts are transmitted and received. The corporation said they would not affect the reception of current channels. Its trials are expected to last a year.

The site also adds that Sky also plans to launch its own HDTV service in 2006, which will include live Premiership football. The HDTV system is already available in Japan, Canada, Australia and South Korea and the US, and compatible HDTV sets are already on sale in the UK. On Tuesday (8 November) BBC director of television Jana Bennett said: "Our promise to our licence payers is to give them the highest quality television, so the time is right for the BBC to get involved in high definition.

"High definition may take time to grow in Britain, but as with the other technologies we helped to build, the BBC wants to prepare now to be able to deliver the benefits of HDTV to all its licence payers in the long term."

A BBC spokeswoman said there was a possibility that next year's football World Cup would be broadcast in high definition format as part of its trials. "It would be a great opportunity to test high-definition broadcasting from a live event," said a BBC spokeswoman. "We hope the World Cup would be a part of the trial but that has still to be confirmed."

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