I had always pictured FreeView as terrestrial broadcasters' attempt to claw back market share from Sky. Yes, I know Sky is an equal partner with the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 - but the perception remains. So it is somewhat ironic that the last of the terrestrial broadcasters, Five, has just pinned its HD colours to Rupert Murdock's mast (ooh er).
Five HD will launch on Sky's high definition service in July to a customer base which now tops two million subscribers. It follows the news ITV HD will launch on Sky in April and completes a full house of terrestrial channels alongside BBC HD and Channel 4 HD. Five HD becomes the 42nd high def channel on Sky HD with the broadcaster announcing ambitious plans to reach 50 by Christmas.
Like the other terrestrial High Def channels Five HD will be free to subscribers, but sadly Sky still enforces a £10pm premium for receiving HD content. Fingers crossed it will drop that soon in the same manner it dumped the £10pm PVR capabilities in Sky+.
In related news confusion reigns following claims yesterday that LG had sold 15,000 3D HDTVs to Sky for equipping pubs nationwide. It sounded like nonsense and the company has issued the following statement:
"LG Electronics UK (LG), a leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics and appliances, clarifies its agreement to supply TVs for British Sky Broadcasting Group's (Sky) forthcoming 3D TV service.
LG is currently working with Sky to bring 3D TV to pubs and clubs throughout the UK and Ireland. LG will supply 3D TVs nationwide to support the launch of Sky 3D, Europe's first 3DTV Channel The channel goes live in pubs and clubs from April 2010. A previous release issued 16 March 2010 referenced a commercial deal to supply 15,000 3D TVs to Sky.
LG Electronics UK would like to further clarify the situation. The figure of 15,000 3D TVs is inaccurate. Sky is helping support its commercial customers purchase TVs direct from a UK third party.
Well that's as clear as mud. Still, while I've never been a fan of 3D (I'm not sure you'll find many on TR who are) a pub environment seems the absolute worst place to have one. Quite how pub owners are meant to stock hundreds of pairs of expensive glasses and stop them being stolen or broken is beyond me. Furthermore, anyone not wearing glasses simply sees a blurry image so it is useless to them as well.
Avatar really does have a lot to answer for...