BBC to Offer 'Live 8' in First HD Public Demo

The BBC will give its first public demonstration of HD as part of a charity concert for Africa known as Live 8, on July 2 in London's Hyde Park. Attendees who are gathered near the BBC's 17-foot "Big Screen" near Cardiff Castle can watch the trial relay featuring event coverage in 1080i.

The format seems noteworthy for those who keep close tabs on format wars. The BBC recently conducted consumer preference tests on HD and one BBC engineer was widely quoted as stating that the clear preference among British test viewers was 720p, leading the engineer to suggest out loud that interlace is part of the old analog regime, and that analog is dead. Or soon will be (HD Notebook, June 22, 2005).

The Live 8 concert in HD (available only on the lone outdoor screen, not on-air) includes an all-star cast--notably Paul McCarthy, Elton John and the original members of Pink Floyd playing together for the first time in 24 years. The BBC had previously announced that most of its programming will be produced in HD (presumably the 720p variety) by 2010.