The BBC has announced that it will broadcast its 2006 World Cup coverage and major Wimbledon matches in High Definition this summer, as part of a year-long trial of the service commencing in mid-May. The World Cup 2006 will be the first major sporting event to be broadcast in HD in the UK. To view the World Cup in HD, you’ll need a HD Ready TV, a HD set top box and a HD service from your satellite or cable provider.
The BBC’s HD trial will last for about 12 months, allowing the corporation to test the technical delivery of HD and to understand how the audience values a BBC HD service. Broadcasts will commence on Monday 15th May with a series of previews. The first live HD programme will be the opening World Cup match Germany Vs Costa Rica on Friday 9th June, courtesy of German broadcasters Premiere, with BBC commentary and analysis also in HD.
The 12-month trial will feature natural history series Planet Earth and Galapagos, drama documentary Hannibal and some Proms concerts including the First and Last Nights and re-rus of classic dramas such as Hotel Babylon and Bleak House.
HDTV transmissions cannot be offered on Freeview at present due to limited airspace. The digital switchover between 2008-2012 is expected to provide an opportunity to broadcast HDTV via Freeview.