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BBC launches HD service May 15

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Bbc_hd001For the latest information about freesat, which launched on 6th May 2008, see the Freesat category

With the BBC promising to launch its HD trial service on May 15th (or a couple of days either side, a Beeb spokeswoman helpfully informs us), thoughts turn to how on earth we can pick it up. Initially BBC HD will only be broadcast on satellite (Telewest will carry it very soon - they seem a bit pre-occupied with the NTL-Virgin merger thing right now) which means that for now you'll need a digital satellite set top box.

Whether you'll get Sky's HD box in time is anybody's guess, but if you go this route you'll pay through the nose unless you subscribe to Sky's HD service for £10 a month. Basically Sky will charge you £399 for a box that won't offer any of the amazing SkyPlus functionality if you decide not to subscribe to its HD channels.

Which is why retailers like Turbosat are doing such brisk business on free to air box's like Humax's HD CI 2000. "We just can't get enough of them," says a Turbosat spokesman. "We've already sold out of one batch and we're expecting another one in soon. People are buying them like hot cakes in time for The World Cup." Featuring HDMI, DVI and component connections the Humax set-top box currently costs £299.

The BBC HD service will screen both Wimbledon and The World Cup in HD free of charge this summer. For more World Cup stories check out Who Ate All The Bratwurst?

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