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Viewers face World Cup misery

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Sky has delayed the installation date for thousands of its customers who are hoping to tune into High Definition (HD) TV in time for the World Cup.

Supply problems with its new HD box means that 17,000 installation dates are being rescheduled to cope with the shortfall. Sky is blaming the delay on "an unforeseen and very late hold up in the manufacturing process".

While Sky insists the launch of its much-hyped HD service next week will still go-ahead as planned, news of delays and supply problems are likely to overshadow the launch. And while the satellite TV operator insists it is doing all it can to ensure that every one gets their HD service in time for the World Cup, there are some who are already concerned that they will miss out.

Customers have reported that they've already booked time off so that they are at home for their Sky HD install appointment and that changing dates at with just days to go is proving inconvenient.

One customer told El Reg that he was due to have his HD service installed next week but that this had now been put back to the middle of June. And if he can't make that date, then the next available slot is in August. The date changes come even after customers received letters guaranteeing their install date.

Asked whether Sky could guarantee that punters would get their HD for the start of the World Cup a Sky spokesman replied: "We will install thousands of Sky HD boxes before the start of the World Cup and we expect that every customer who was due to have their box for the World Cup will have Sky HD for at least part of the tournament."

Sky declined to give precise numbers regarding the take-up of HD but confirmed that 40,000 people had signed up in the three weeks after the service was launched in April.

In a statement Sky told us: "Sky HD is launching on time next week but we are having to change some installation dates because of delays to HD box deliveries. We ordered more than enough boxes to meet demand and we're ready to install them but they're not arriving from our supplier as fast as we agreed.

"We think the fairest approach is to change the dates of some installations while keeping the original order. This means that those who requested Sky HD first will still be amongst the first to receive it.

"We're very sorry for any disappointment this has caused and we're working hard to resolve the situation. Thousands of customers will have their HD box next week and many more will be installed in time for the start of the World Cup. We'll do everything we can to bring HD to everyone as soon as possible," it said. ®

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