Sky has confirmed May 22 as the official launch date for its eagerly awaited HDTV service. Since bookings were opened on 13 April , there have been over 40,000 advance sales – more than the total number of Sky+ sales in its first year!
Things are looking good for HD generally. According to the latest industry estimates, 2.7 million HD Ready TVs will have been sold by the end of 2006. 46% of all TV sales over 26 inches in February were HD Ready, compared to 3.4% in February 2005. Lined up for screening in the first week are the following HD highlights:
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Sky Box Office HD, Mon 22 May )
Inside…A Gunshot Victim (Sky One HD, 21.00, Mon 22 May)
National Trust: National Treasures (Artsworld HD, 21.00, Mon 22 May)
24 (Sky One HD, 23.00, Mon 22 May)
Rescue Me (Sky One HD, 23.00, Tues 23 May)
Star Trek Enterprise (Sky One HD, 15.00, Tues 23 May)
Wallace & Gromit In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Sky Box Office, Weds 24 May)
Test Cricket (Sky Sports HD, Thursday 25 May, 10.30)
Independence Day (Sky Movies 9 HD, Friday 26 May )
Face to Face With the Ice Bear (National Geographic HD, 20.00, Friday 26 May)
Rugby Union (Sky Box Office, Sat 27 May )
Sky HD first week channel information
Sky Sports HD
Sky Sports HD starts off the summer with high definition coverage of live international and domestic cricket. England’s Test and One-Day matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan and each of the county competitions will be screened in high-def. Later this summer domestic football resumes with the Barclaycard Premiership and Coca-Cola League in HD alongside Rugby union’s Guinness Premiership with more sports to be confirmed in the near future.
Sky Box Office HD
Sky Box Office HD channels will broadcast up to ten of the latest movie premiers in HD each week. May will see Wallace & Gromit shine in the Oscar-Winning HD animation The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Cameron Diaz in stiletto sharp clarity in In Her Shoes. June’s HD treats include the UK premier of Susan’s Stroman’s The Producers, Viggo Mortensen stars in A History of Violence.
Sky Movies HD
High definition is set to arrive with some pretty impressive special effects, thanks to the likes of Hellboy, Alien Vs Predator, Blade Trinity and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy courtesy of Sky Movies HD. Meanwhile, Kirsten Dunst, Uma Thurman and Keira Knightly are ready to become even more stunning in the HD format, courtesy of Spider-Man II, King Arthur and Kill Bill Vol 2. Also getting an HD airing are Million Dollar Baby, Calendar Girls, The Stepford Wives and Meet The Fockers.
Sky One HD
Joining 24 and Bones are HD re-runs of Star Trek Enterprise, Jake 2.0 and Las Vegas.
National Trust National Treasures is one of Artsworld’s big high definition draws for the summer. It’s the channel’s first programme commissioned in HD, and will feature the likes of Sir Edwin Lutyens’ Castle Drogo and the former home of Modernist architect, Erno Goldfinger.
National Geographic HD
Thunderbeast follows a bison calf through Yellowstone National Park, while Oceans in Glass will provide a behind the scenes look at marine research and conservation. And it’s not just animals who reap the benefits of high definition – Tornado Intercept and Megastructures: Dubai’s Palm Island show the natural and the man made world in vivid detail.
In Journey to the Centre of the Earth, dramatic reconstruction, computer imagery and the ground breaking scientific research tell the story of what lies beneath our feet – from the surface all the way to the core.