U.K.: Sky Goes MPEG-4 HD on May 22

Sky in the United Kingdom said it will launch its long-awaited and heavily publicized satellite HD service on Monday, May 22, with "Star Wars: Return of the Sith" and the American TV series "24" included in its first day lineup. It will be the first satellite HD service in the U.K. (and will be offered in several other European countries this spring and summer).

Sky will begin installing its first HD set-top boxes also on May 22, after it reportedly secured about 40,000 advance orders from mostly current Sky subs since its HD bookings opened barely a month ago (April 13).

Other highlights in Sky's first week of HD service, which will tap into the advanced compression technology MPEG-4, will include "Star Trek Enterprise" and live coverage of England's second cricket "Test" featuring Sri Lanka, and rugby's Guinness Premiership final.

The U.K. plans to totally drop analog by 2012.