Footy on UK HD for free

The UK home nations may not have qualified for the Euro 2008 soccer championships, but for armchair fans, the video quality of the football they will be watching will be better than ever. Freesat, the UK’s new, subscription-free, digital satellite TV service from the BBC and ITV confirmed that its Euro 2008 coverage will be available in free high definition on BBC HD and ITV HD.
ITV HD launches this Saturday, exclusively on Freesat, with the Portugal v Turkey fixture being the first game shown, at 7.45pm. ITV’s HDTV coverage will be available to Freesat viewers via the red button. BBC HD will broadcast the opening game of the tournament, Switzerland v Czech Republic, at 5.00pm.

There are an estimated 10m HD-Ready televisions in homes across the UK and before the launch of Freesat last month only a small proportion had access to HD content. This month also sees the arrival in stores of Panasonic’s HD integrated TVs with Freesat built in, so those planning to get a new TV to watch the football have a perfect solution.

In addition to live coverage of Euro 2008, ITV HD will show a range of top movies over the summer. And following the tournament, there will be the new season of UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup, and England soccer internationals. The BBC’s summer of sport includes both Wimbledon and the Olympics in high definition.

Emma Scott, managing director of Freesat said: “With BBC HD, and now ITV HD, on the Freesat platform anyone can have a high quality, cinematic television viewing experience with no ongoing costs.”