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Sky names suppliers for HDTV service

SkylogoHigh Definition Television (HDTV) has been causing a stir in the US for some time and many of us a clamouring for the European version. BSkyB has been making plans to launch the service in the near future and in a step towards that end has now named some of the technology and equipment suppliers. Sony has been contracted to start the and equipping of a new HDTV studio in Sky’s Isleworth headquarters, Tandberg Television will assume command of video encoding and distribution, and the Harris D-Series Version 4 Air Automation System will support delivery of BSkyB's HDTV programming

Although HDTV has been heralded as the future of television, a recent Guardian feature suggests that some viewers might feel slightly let down by the commercial reality of the system when launched. To view the new channels will require some serious hardware upgrades; firstly in the Sky boxes, which will have the new High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) outputs, this means that, in turn, your telly will also have to be “HDTV Ready”. To achieve that will require both an HDMI input (although Sky boxes will still have an analogue output – it just won’t look as good) and special software to handle High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which is Sky’s way of maintaining copyright over the service.

Which is all well and good unless you have splashed out on a LCD or Plasma TV, say in the last year, in which case it probably won’t support the new service. Further more, experts suggest that due to the sheer cost of transmitting the new programmes, they are likely to be capped at 720 lines; this is still an improvement over PAL’s normal 576 visible lines, but still way short of the 1080 lines the system is capable of.

In its infancy, HDTV isn’t going to dramatically change your life but it certainly is here to stay and puts Sky at the forefront of the next generation of TV transmissions for the foreseeable future.

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Posted by Al W on April 18, 2005 in TVs | Permalink

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Comments

I think you've missed the point picaso. This article is talking about the state of play of HDTV in the uk, not the US. Sure you can wander into your local store and be HDTV equipped in no time at all in the US but it's taken a long time for that to be the case. It is not gonna happen overnight, partly due to the initial compatability issues but also the value for money factor. As it stands at the moment, the only back catalogue of programmes are from the US and not everyone wants to watch the superbowl, even if it is for just an extra $5/month.

Posted by: neil | Apr 19, 2005 11:27:12 AM

As a hi-def customer here in Chicago, I can tell you that if you make one call to your cable/sattelite company and one visit to your tv store, there is no complicated set-up of software to worry about. The broadcasters have made the transition virtually transparent. Your article paints a scary transition, in reality it wont be.
And as far as costs, not really that muchh, I paid $1400 US for a 37 inch SONY HDTV and an extra $5/month for the HD service. I get 1080 resolution and get 13 HD channels (plus normal package of SD channels). As far as I know, the broadcast resolution is set by the original signal (example Discovery HD theater is in 1080i, wheras FOX is in 720p) Your new HD tv will accept both with no problem.

Posted by: picaso | Apr 18, 2005 7:42:51 PM

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