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Sky attacks HDforALL campaign

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 08 Jul 2007 11:06 User comments (2)

Sky attacks HDforALL campaign The British 'HD for All' campaign, designed to promote hi-def TV, drew a withering blast from Sky yesterday.
Sky public affairs head Martin Le Jeune described it as a "shabby alliance between a group of public service broadcasters who should know better [and] vendors who sell expensive product". It was "genuinely silly", he told a Westminster audience.

It was insulting to compare the provision of HD programming to something as fundamental as universal healthcare, he said. HD TV is the mass-market technology that never arrives - but Sky has been offering the service for real for over a year now, and actually has some viewers.

Westminster's eForum gathered MPs, broadcasters, and regulators at Millbank yesterday to discuss the state of HD TV in the UK. The day's debate confirmed that in Britain the talking would carry on for some years to come.

At the core of the delay is the issue of spectrum. The established public service broadcasters say there isn't enough of it to go round. This view was encapsulated by Simon Pitt, "director of platforms" for ITV.

Pitt said squeezing HD programming onto the spectrum allocated was "theoretically true but practically difficult". But this is prime spectrum, and lots of people want it. Mobile TV (such as DVB-H) is another way it could be put to use; local TV is another.

Two notes of dissent put these anxieties in perspective.

Nokia multimedia VP Mark Selby reminded the audience that hi-def didn't mean good programmes.

"We can get so in love with technology, we end up polishing stones," he said.

"I remember when Toy Story came out, everyone said it would be the future of animation. Since then we've had the success of The Simpsons and SouthPark - which shows it's the overall experience that matters".

And South Park doesn't need a hi-def MPEG4 "delivery platform".

The other reality-check came from Guy Holcroft, of market research group GfK: "Today's forum is composed of people who want HD technology," he observed. "GfK haven't seen any evidence that there's widespread national demand for HD TV."

Source: The Register

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2 user comments

18.7.2007 11:47

Who really expected Sky (a minority of the UK commercial sector but currently holding the largest share of our tiny - and very expensive - emerging HD market) to say anything else?

This is just typical self-interest squalking.

Of course no-one is saying HD TV is 'worth' more than health provision or housing etc etc, what a stupid point to try and make (and not one you'd see Sky using when it comes to their own products and their 'value').

Thankfully the BBC is going ahead with a free-to-air HD service but sadly it's so painfully limited in it's ambitions - you won't be seeing BBC1, 2, 3 or 4 'mirrored' on an HD parallel channel for instance.

The last thing we should do in the UK is weaken public broadcasting any further, a completely commercial TV system is, frankly, horrible and barely watchable with so many long ad breaks in it.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Jul 2007 @ 11:49

216.7.2007 3:26

I like the fact that its all becoming one thats the way it should be.

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