HD TV in the UK
Time to buy a 1080p telly at last?
Feature After a somewhat sluggish start, HD TV services are finally starting to take off here in the UK. It’s about time too, as there are almost 10m HD TV sets currently in use here in the UK, yet Sky — the main provider of HD broadcasts in the UK — has barely half a million subscribers signed up to its Sky HD service.
However, the recent launch of Freesat — a joint venture between the BBC and ITV — is finally starting to stir things up a bit. Admittedly, Freesat’s arrival was pretty low-key, but this new service has the potential to give millions of UK viewers access to free HD programmes for the first time. It’s already prompted Sky to cut the price of its Sky+ HD set-top box by 50 per cent.
Torchwood on BBC HD: but no Doctor Who…
Virgin’s getting in on the act too — as is Apple, which has finally got around to making a (somewhat limited) selection of HD films available for rent through its AppleTV set-top box. All this means that UK viewers now have a number of options for watching films, sport and other programmes that will really show off their expensive flat-panel TV sets in all their high-def glory.
Free For All
Freesat is similar to the popular Freeview service, which is now being used by half the homes in the UK. It offers around 80 TV channels and radio stations, including two HD channels — BBC HD and ITV HD. Its channels are broadcast via satellite rather than the terrestrial transmitters used by Freeview, which means that you’ll need a satellite dish to receive the signals, and a new digital set-top box to link the satellite dish to your TV.
BBC HD FTA
Sayeth the article: "However, Freesat From Sky doesn’t offer any HD channels".
Fail. BBC HD is broadcast FTA, or in the clear, and can be picked up by any compatible HD receiver, including a Sky HD box with either a Freesat by Sky card, or no card at all.
"With the exception of the BBC's Living Planet (I think it was that series) which purported to be 1080i, not one of the Blu-Ray discs in my local HMV had any resolution or encoding info on the packaging whatsoever."
Utter rubbish. I've picked up the first 10 from my tv stand, titles including Superman, Blood Diamond, Pirates of the Caribbean and Casino Royale (all titles I'm sure you'll find in HMV) and all bar one of them has a specifications table on the back, and in it clearly states "Video : 1080p High Definition".
The only film without this box was "the Departed" and it has a gold logo saying "Full HD 1080" clearly stamped on the back of the case.
With the exception of the BBC's Living Planet (I think it was that series) which purported to be 1080i, not one of the Blu-Ray discs in my local HMV had any resolution or encoding info on the packaging whatsoever.