Sky has announced the first details of the hi-def channel package that will be available in early 2006. The service, called Sky HD, will include a Sky Sports channel, Sky One, a Sky Box Office channel, two Sky Movies screens and … wait for it… Artsworld(?).
Premiership football is likely to prove a big draw for the crystal-clear hi-def service, which more than doubles the resolution of normal broadcasts – if you have a HD-ready screen. Like the Sky Movies HD channels, Premiership games will also be broadcast with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack.
Movie titles available in HD at launch will include special effects extravaganzas Spider Man 2, The Day After Tomorrow and House of Flying Daggers.
There are two types of hi-def video: 720-line progressive scan and 1080-line interlaced. The Sky platform will support both, with broadcasters choosing the most appropriate format: the 720p format is better suited to action movies and fast-moving sports, whereas 1080i gives higher resolution for the sort of slower images – the sort that you’ll find on Artsworld, we’d guess.
Pricing for the HD service is not yet confirmed, but expect to pay a premium on top of the Sky+ subscription. You’ll be able to pre-register for Sky HD from 26th August at Comet stores. There’s more info here.