Sky names suppliers for HDTV service


High 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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  • 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.

  • 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.

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