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BBC HDTV launches May 15

March 23rd, 2006 · No Comments

As predicted by AV Zombie on the 20th March, the BBC has now confirmed that it will screen selcted Wimbledon matches from Centre Court and Court One alongside its 2006 World Cup coverage, as part of its pioneering trial.
The experimental HD service will last for about 12 months, says the Beeb. Ostensibly, it will enable the BBC to test technical delivery of HD and to measure audience reaction. Any ongoing BBC HD service will be subject to approval by the BBC Trust.
Seetha Kumar, the Head of BBC HD TV, says: “We believe that in the long term the BBC can help provide the benefits of HD to everyone, free to air, in the same way that we backed colour, stereo, widescreen and online in the past. With this trial, the BBC is taking the first crucial steps to support the development of HD broadcasting in the UK.”
The BBC’s HD service will start broadcasting on Monday 15 May, but will at first only consist of of previews of upcoming programmes. The first live HD programme will be the opening match Germany Vs Costa Rica on Friday 9 June. The footage will come via an HD feed from German host broadcasters Premiere, but it will be wrapped BBC commentary and studio coverage. Standard definition digital and analogue coverage will also draw on high definition images, both for the World Cup and for Wimbledon where the BBC is the host broadcaster.
The BBC’s Director of Sport Roger Mosey says: “High definition works particularly well for sport. It gives fantastic picture quality, from the blades of grass that are being played on right to the back of the stands, and although only limited numbers of people will be able to see this trial we hope it will be a glimpse of the future.”
Once up and running, the Corporation has pledged to screen a mixture of new and old programming, including the HD debut of natural history series Planet Earth and Galapagos, upcoming drama documentary Hannibal, and the first and last night of the Proms. From the archives it will screen Bleak House and Hotel Babylon.
The amount of new programming each day will vary, averaging between one and two hours. Some programmes will be simulcast ,with either BBC One or Two.
The corporation says the ‘HD trial stream will be available on all technically capable platforms, including satellite and cable, once available, from commercial providers’. Interestingly, the broadcaster will run a simultaneous technical trial of HD on digital terrestrial television, but that trial will be confined to few hundred trial households in London. Freeview will only be able to carry HD commercially when bandwidth is made available, following the analogue switch-off. But much depends on Ofcom’s Digital Dividend Review later this year which will decide on how the spectrum should be used.

Tags: High definition TV · Trade

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