New Zealand: TVNZ Going HD Prior to Olympics

The most recent example of how the 2008 Olympics may provide a convenient (albeit purely voluntary) new deadline for the industry to transition to HD could be in the form of the two government-subsidized channels of TVNZ in New Zealand, TV One and TV2.

TVNZ currently plans to ramp up 720p transmissions on its Freeview digital terrestrial platform (not to be confused with Britain’s Freeview platform) by next July, in time to test its live HD programming before the Olympics arrive in late summer, according to a statement from the broadcaster.

On Freeview, TVNZ said it anticipates initially providing up to half of its primetime programs in HD on its main channel, TV One—and up to 80 percent on the TV2 outlet. New Zealanders will have to buy Freeview set-top boxes, which will not be available until early 2008.

About 90 percent of TVNZ’s total revenues, it says, are derived from selling commercial time.