Sky has added the first of its so-called ‘third party channels’ to its HD line up. The network has confirmed that National Geographic HD will be available to HD viewers from early next year. It joins six other Sky channels. The channel screens factual programming produced in the UK and around the world, covering natural history, wildlife, science and world exploration. Some of its key programmes such as Oceans of Glass, Earth Shock: Volcano and Megastructures will be accompanied by Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
Nature documentaries have been one of the big draws for HDTV in the US with viewers describing how they feel that the improved definition pictures make scenes in exotic locations appear more beautiful and more realistic.Brian Sullivan, Sky's Director Customer Products and Services said, "The clarity and vibrancy of HD is a perfect match for a National Geographic channel. Watching wildlife programmes in HD will transport you around the world and take you up close to some of nature's most amazing creatures in more detail than ever before. We are excited to be able to bring customers such an outstanding addition to our HD channel line-up." Sky is apparently in on going talks with other broadcasters and stated recently it expects to have two third party HDTV channels as part of its launch package. The other channel is most likely to be Discovery which has already outlined plans for a HDTV service in the UK.