UK: Sky Starts HD Sign-ups

While HD terrestrial services go on-air for London testing this summer, satellite subs of BSkyB will be able to begin signing up online for HD channels starting this week (April 12). Installation of the HD set-top boxes is set to begin next month, a few weeks in advance of the start of the World Cup. (Pre-registration for HD had been open to some Sky customers for the past couple of weeks.)

Potential HD subs are being encouraged to make reservations for Sky HD installations for their dwellings and businesses online via Sky's Web site. Sign-ups also are being handled by some retail outlets, and by phone. A monthly subscription for HD on the "telly" will cost about $17.50 and the set-top box about $505. Sky said installation would be free until the end of May (or as long as current supplies of STBs last).

According to published reports, Sky has confirmed that its HD box will be equipped with a 160 GB hard drive -- permitting about 80 hours of recorded SD content, or up to 30 hours of HD.