Earlier today satellite broadcaster Sky TV treated us to live HD demonstrations in London’s Groucho club. But the broadcaster stopped short of naming a launch date and detailing costs.
The demo itself was pretty impressive with a large projector and several 40inch LCD screens carrying a trailer showing clips from movies, documentaries and the Champions League final in HD. After the demo, Sky’s Director of Customer Products and Services, Brian Sullivan, gave a fairly detailed speech about why Sky is launching HDTV and followed up with some reasonably candid responses to questions from the floor.
Apparently Sky originally planned an HD launch for 2008 but that’s been brought forward (probably to Spring 2006) because of the availability of HD video cameras and flatscreen TVs. Although no firm decisions have been made on the exact specifications of the set-top box it will be a Sky+ model enabling viewers to record one HD channel while watching another. Most industry pundits reckon it will have a 300Gb hard drive, nearly twice that of the existing Sky+ box.
One interesting feature of the new HD Sky+ box is that it will have dedicated storage for what Sky calls a ‘push video-on-demand service.’ Apparently existing Sky+ boxes have this, but so far Sky hasn’t put it to use. The theory is that while you are sleeping Sky could automatically record one of its pay movie HD films on your hard drive. Then if you do decide to view it (and of course pay for it) you only have to press play rather than go through an ordering process.
For further details on Sky’s HD launch visit sister site HDTVUK.