World Cup: South Africa on HD Track for 2010

The dust may have hardly settled on Italy's dramatic win over France in the final World Cup match on Sunday, but preparations are already well underway for the next all-HD quadrennial global event in 2010 in South Africa.

The official 2010 logo has already been unveiled, the host cities and stadiums have been selected, most sponsors reportedly are on board, according to South African officials -- and as was the case in Germany this summer, configuring a global television production and distribution operation will again be the heart of the world's biggest sporting event.

Sentech, a commercial South African broadband network owned by the South African government, said it's on schedule to ramp up digital terrestrial television (DTT) HD and SD to meet national broadcast parameters prior to 2010. The company said in a statement it's optimistic it will play a major role in the next Cup by ensuring that South Africa's analog infrastructure is upgraded to DTT. The 2006 World Cup featured all 64 matches in HD.

For South Africa's digital launch to succeed, Sentech is expected to spend about 1 billion Rand ($140.2 million) to upgrade its broadcast infrastructure for national operations. But it hopes to begin initial transmission of HD on some channels as early as this fall. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) requires South Africa, as the host nation, to provide HD transmission technology at its 2010 IBC.