Sky News to launch in High Definition in spring 2010

June 11th, 2009 - 10:25 UTC by Andy Sennitt

Sky News plans to launch a new high definition (HD) channel in Spring 2010. It will be the first UK news channel to broadcast in HD.

Sky News HD will be simulcast alongside Sky News’ existing standard definition channel, with an updated HD studio, HD resources in the field and HD graphics capable of delivering a 3D look on-air. The commitment to launch Sky News HD follows the channel’s successful first ever HD broadcast and HD online streaming of Barack Obama’s Inauguration in January 2009 .

Sky News HD will launch in Spring 2010 once its headquarters in West London have been upgraded to provide an HD broadcast capability. In addition, work will also be carried out in some of Sky News’ busiest bureaux in the UK and overseas to support HD production.

The move to embrace HD responds to increasing viewer demand for high-quality programming with the intensity and vividness of HD. Head of Sky News John Ryley says: “Sky News HD marks another landmark for a news organisation now in its 21st year of broadcasting. It’s an investment in the future of news, for the audiences of today and tomorrow.

As well as enhanced studio presentation and compelling on-air graphics, news is also about the drama of human emotion: from keynote speeches and police news conferences to picket lines and joyful crowds at ceremonial events, HD is an opportunity to bring our viewers much closer to events, and we’re delighted that we can now announce we will be working towards launching this exciting new service next year.”

Sky+HD is Europe’s leading HD service with over 1 million customers. Today Sky+HD customers can watch 33 HD channels from leading brands such as Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Channel 4, Disney, MTV, BBC, Discovery, FX, Sky1 and National Geographic. Sky+HD customers can choose up to 400 hours a day - or 12,000 hours a month - of quality HD content.

The number of Sky+HD customers grew by 243,000 in the first three months of 2009. By 31 March 2009, the total number of Sky+HD customers stood at 1.022m, up from 465,000 a year earlier.