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Sky News to launch HD service in spring 2010

Sky News plans to launch Sky News HD next spring, following an upgrade to its studios, production facilities and newsgathering operations in the UK and overseas.

Sky News HD will be simulcast alongside Sky News’ existing SD channel. The operation will rely on an updated HD studio, HD resources in the field and HD graphics capable of delivering a 3-D look on-air.

In January, Sky News conducted its first HD broadcast and HD online stream when it delivered coverage of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Sky News HD will launch in spring 2010 once its headquarters in West London have been upgraded to provide HD broadcast capability. Additionally, Sky News will upgrade some of its busiest UK and foreign bureaus to support HD production.

“As well as enhanced studio presentation and compelling on-air graphics, news is also about the drama of human emotion; from keynote speeches and police news conferences to picket lines and joyful crowds at ceremonial events, HD is an opportunity to bring our viewers much closer to events,” said John Ryley, head of Sky News.

The company’s Sky+HD entertainment service has more than 1 million customers and offers 33 HD channels. The number of Sky+HD customers grew by 243,000 in the first three months of 2009. As of the end of March, Sky+HD customers totaled about 1.02 million, up from 465,000 a year earlier.