Beeb to kick off high-def with World Cup 2006

So, we can stop crossing our toes and wasting time in rumour-laden home cinema forums: the BBC has officially said it’ll screen the World Cup in high

So, we can stop crossing our toes and wasting time in rumour-laden home cinema forums: the BBC has officially said it’ll screen the World Cup in high definition.

Footie fans aren’t the only ones who’ll enjoy their sport in picture quality four times what we have today. The Beeb will also be recording and broadcasting the tennis at Wimbledon this July, limiting coverage to Centre Court and Court One (meaning there's no danger of a HD Henman).

The sporting fun begins on 9th June, when Germany play Costa Rica, culminating in the England v Brazil final the Stuff team has bet an absurd amount of cash on.

The BBC’s high-def trial, however, actually starts as soon as 15th May and will include our current must-watch TV show, Planet Earth, as well as dramas such as last year’s brilliant Bleak House.

Which all sounds awesome. To enjoy all the Beeb’s glorious high-definition stuff, you’ll need a new set-top box from Sky or Telewest. The Sky HD one (pictured) still doesn’t have an official launch date [story here], but we’re guessing it’ll go on sale next month: Sky’s already confirmed anyone with its HD box will be able to watch the BBC World Cup matches.

Telewest’s TVDrive, by contrast, is on sale now if you live in one of the four million homes able to get it [story here]. Telewest doesn’t currently have the rights to show the World Cup, but we reckon its odds-on it’ll bagsy them by the time the tournament starts.

5.25PM update: the good people of the Beeb have confirmed the HD format they'll be using: 1080i.