UK: BBC News Continues HD Awareness Campaign

March 1, 2006
The BBC's plans to transmit its channels in HD throughout Britain was the topic of an education awareness message last week from Chrichton Limbert, Head of BBC News Production Modernization.

"By next Christmas, there will be a much wider range of easily available HD pictures -- including the BBC HD test service, a limited technical trial of the practicalities of transmitting in HD, due to start later this year," Limbert wrote, according to published reports.

The BBC News official readily acknowledged a competing HD programmer when he quoted DBS firm Sky's James Murdoch as saying, '"HD isn't going to be just great, it's going to blow people away.' The BBC is fully embracing HD and has publicly set a target of full HD production by 2010," Limbert wrote.

Limbert said switching to HD is a big issue, and a bit of a gamble, for news production: "The main problem is one of cost -- changing to HD is as bad as changing from black and white to colour. Absolutely everything in the whole production process has to be replaced -- from lenses through to all TV screens, even including the cables and switches. News is not something where we can just decide to try a single bulletin in HD to see what it looks like. The whole 'global machine' has to switch," he wrote.

The BBC exec also acknowledged that his renowned World Service will never be completely HD. Referring to the terrorist bombing at a subway station and on a double-decker bus in London, he said, "The most memorable news image of 2005 was in a tube tunnel, taken on a mobile phone. We will never allow insisting on HD quality to get in the way of telling the story."

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