U.K.: BBC Spotlights HD for ‘Public Consultation’

Coming about a week after Ofcom, Britain’s rough equivalent of America’s FCC, gave the go-ahead for the BBC to place a free HD channel on that nation’s Freeview service, the BBC Trust has now formally announced support for the HD service and will consult British citizens at-large online about various aspects of the decision.

According to the BBC Trust, the governing body for the BBC has concluded that an HD outlet for the taxpayer-supported broadcaster to be aired on Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB satellite service, on cable, and on the Freeview terrestrial channel (and eventually on high-speed Internet) will provide “high public value and positive impacts on the market, while causing little adverse market impact.”

The trust said it is “particularly interested” in the public’s views on when an HD service on Freeview should launch. Among the online questions put to Britons by the trust: “Should the BBC launch the… interim service in 2008, even if that means buying two set-top boxes within a very short period of time?”

The trust’s provisional conclusions are subject to a four-week consultation period for the public, and a final decision is expected near the end of November.