UK: BSkyB Reveals More HD Plans

As HD Notebook has reported for several months, the European DBS firm BSkyB soon will launch its HD services in Britain and elsewhere in Western Europe. The satellite service has given a few new details to the Digital Spy Web site in the UK, through an in-depth interview with an unnamed Sky executive. Some of the exec's observations include:

• Sky has not made a final decision on which of its HD channels will use which formats, but "the general consensus" is that movies look better in 1080i and sports looks better in 720p.

• Each Sky HD channel will use one format or the other; they won't be switching back and forth between programs.

• All HD material will be in 50Hz, including live telecasts from the U.S., which will be converted and encoded in MPEG-4 by Sky.

• The Sky One HD channel will simulcast the main Sky One channel. While some programs will be in true HD and some apparently will be up-converted (which means it will not, technically, be HD), true HD material will be noted with a voiceover and logo at the beginning of each program. HD programming also will be noted in the EPG with the "info" button.

• Sky Sports HD will contain a mix of the four regular Sky Sports channels to maximizing HD content.