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Sky gets Five HD

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Five may not be coming to Freeview HD any time in the near future, but it will show up on Sky.

The two broadcasters today said Five HD will debut on the satellite service in July.

Sky said the deal is an important step toward reaching its target to present 50 HD channels by Christmas. Five HD is the forty-second channel it has added to its roster.

Sky's main HD rival, Virgin Media, this weeks said it has signed up the Sci-Fi Channel's HD offering - branded SyFy HD. It also has the exclusive on Film 4 HD.

VM has fewer HD channels than Sky, and is promoting its service by charging no extra premium for HD content. Sky charges an extra tenner a month for its HD channels.

Five claimed its output was "more suited to HD than that any other major free-to-air commercial broadcaster", though its justification for this claim is the dubious advantage of showing lots of imported programmes, such as CSI and Neighbours.

The news comes days after it emerged that Ofcom has withdrawn Five's allocation of bandwidth on Freeview HD because the channel was apparently unable to satisfy the broadcasting watchdog's scheduling and launch requirements. ®

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