And it may well be worth waiting until they do. BBC HD is only on for four hours a day, and the range of programmes available on BBC HD and ITV HD isn’t that great as yet. There are a few popular programs that get repeated ad nauseam, such as Gavin and Stacey, and documentaries such as Planet Earth that really benefit from the HD treatment. However, the main emphasis right now is on sport.
ITV HD: dinosaurs and sport
The BBC HD channel is showing Wimbledon at the moment, while ITV HD has Euro 2008, so Freesat is certainly worth considering if you want to see every blade of grass on the tennis courts and football pitches this summer. Interestingly, ITV HD is currently exclusive to Freesat, so that might well have swing a few sales as Euro 2008 progresses to its conclusion.
In contrast, Sky’s HD subscription service boasts more than a dozen different channels’ worth of HD programming. Again, much of it is sport, but there are also a number of movie channels, as well as Sky One HD, which broadcasts HD versions of most — but not all — of the programmes that are available on the standard Sky One channel. You can also get BBC HD as part of your Sky HD service, along with Channel 4 HD — which is exclusive to Sky HD at the moment — and a number of documentary channels such as Discovery HD and National Geographic HD.
There’s a full channel listing on Sky’s web site.
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.
Don't mind the AC
Just about every Blu-ray disc is in full 1080p (as is HD-DVD). In fact the few that aren't are 1080i, not 720p. As stated on the boxes.
The previous AC claimed that HD movie downloads for the 360 "won't happen in the UK". Which is rather odd, since they DID happen last year. Not that I've bothered with it, since I have a HD-DVD player, and the vast majority of the 360's HD film selection were also released on the format.
"Mark" asked "why not use the new compression algorithm and create a HD movie that fits on ONE DVD?" - to which the answer is "because while a 720p film would fit if you dial down the bitrate enough, Blu-ray and HD-DVD already used those new compression algorithms and yet decided that 20+Gb for the video alone was necessary to give the best quality at 1080p". Squeezing a whole HD film onto a single DVD is the HD equivalent of VideoCD when it comes to being covered in a swathe of artifacts and mess.
What's the point?
As people keep subtely pointing towards, there is no such thing as HD.
If you buy a 1080 set, any 720 "HD" (ie most) will be upscaled by a non-integer factor. If you get a 720 set, hopefully any 1080 content will be downscaled... or will it just not be watchable?
With SD you get to watch the native resolution. With HD you don't. So we've introduced extra resolution in order to *decrease* picture quality. Until there's a shared common standard between TVs and media players, HD will remain a well-executed con.
(Of course, so was DVD. The strategy of employing point-sampling for video encoding produced "sharp images" (stills) but crap movement due to strobing. I'm I being cynical in thinking that this may just have been done to introduce a flaw that they could later sell us the solution to...?)