Media; Sport; BBC
The BBC announced today that it will broadcast its 2006 World Cup coverage and major Wimbledon matches in high definition this summer as part of its pioneering trial.
The BBC HD trial will kick off with the BBC's share
of World Cup matches up to and including the Sunday 9 July final.
World Cup 2006 will be the first major sporting event to be broadcast
in HD in the UK.
The BBC's summer of HD sport will continue with
Wimbledon matches from Centre Court and Court One.
HD is a new kind of television which delivers more detailed pictures and sharper
shots of fast-moving action than conventional 'standard definition'. The
HD format will be an extra stream alongside conventional analogue and digital
It will only be accessible to viewers who have all
of the following: HD Ready televisions, HD set top boxes and HD
services from satellite or cable providers.
News about the World Cup and Wimbledon in HD follows finalisation of the technical and partnership arrangements for the trial.
The BBC's HD trial will last for about 12 months.
It will enable the BBC to test technical delivery of HD and to understand
how the audience values a BBC HD service. Any ongoing BBC HD service
will be subject to approval by the BBC Trust.
Director of Sport Roger Mosey said: "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."
Head of BBC HD TV Seetha Kumar said: "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
BBC HD will start broadcasting on Monday 15 May with a test stream previewing
forthcoming programmes. The first live HD programme will be the opening World
Cup match Germany Vs Costa Rica on Friday 9 June.
BBC commentary and studio
coverage in HD will wrap up the HD feed from German host broadcasters HBS (Host Broadcast Services).
Standard definition digital and analogue BBC ONE coverage will also draw
on high definition images, both for the World Cup and for Wimbledon where
the BBC is the host broadcaster.
Notes to Editors
The BBC HD trial will run for about 12 months. It will feature some of
the BBC's most ambitious programmes, such as natural history series Planet
Earth and Galapagos,
drama documentary Hannibal and
some BBC Proms concerts including
the First and Last Nights, in HD quality.
The amount of new programming each day will vary, averaging between one and two hours. Some programmes will be simulcast with BBC ONE or, in a few instances, BBC
Others will be time-shifted or offer another chance
to view past highlights such as dramas Bleak
House and Hotel Babylon in high definition for the first time.
The BBC will provide its HD trial stream on all technically capable platforms, including satellite and cable, once available, from commercial providers.
It is not currently possible to provide HD transmissions
on Freeview because of limited space on the airwaves.
will run a simultaneous technical trial of HD on digital terrestrial
television (Freeview). That trial will be
confined to few hundred trial households in London, which will
be chosen shortly.
Freeview could accommodate some high definition broadcasting
after switchover between 2008 and 2012. Ofcom's Digital Dividend
Review later this year is deciding how that spectrum should be used.
Consumer information about HD, how to receive it and the BBC's HD trial can be seen at bbc.co.uk/digital