Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Channel 4 HD service launched on Sky 140

Chanell 4 logo and a candle - happy 25th birthday

Back in September, Channel 4 announced that they’d soon be simulcasting their main C4 channel on Sky in HD. And the service started yesterday (December 10), tucked away on Sky channel 140.

While some shows will still only be available in upscaled standard definition (SD), many of C4’s US originations (including hits like Ugly Betty ... must confess I’ve never watched it!) and movies are already produced in HD for the US and international markets.

Channel 4 - along with most other UK broadcasters - are increasingly producing in HD to increase their potential sales abroad and protect their investments for repeat showings when HD does take off in the UK.

Unfortunately, I can’t find much about HD on the Channel 4 website, other than details of the London Freeview HD trial.

There’s an interesting divergence of approach across C4 and the BBC.

C4 are choosing to simulcast their main channel, simply encouraging HD viewers to swap “4” for “140”.

In contrast, the BBC HD service - currently in trial, but now recently approved by the BBC Trust to become a fully-fledged service - will

“not aim simply to replicate the BBC One schedule in HD but should simulcast content from other BBC channels that best utilises the quality gains that the format provides”.

While in practice this will mean the simulcasting of “the core peak-time ‘spine’ of BBC One”, there will be opportunity for other content and genres to break through.

Despite the public value (ie, more licence fee bang for buck) in showcasing more than just BBC One, I wonder if the simplicity of (C4's) simulcasting - particularly alongside the terrestrial channel’s announcement that they will work together to introduce BBC1, BBC2, ITV, C4 and five in HD on a Freeview multiplex near you as soon as technology and bandwidth allows - won’t catch the (still limited) HD audience’s imagination and appreciation more quickly and effectively? Don't hold back on telling me what you think!

1 comment:

Timothy Belmont said...

Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about: Ikea seems to have almost iconic status. Still, I'll pay it a visit when the dust has settled! Wonder if the police will be going to House of Fraser HQ for a pep talk, in prep. for their opening next year...