Foxtel signals high-definition midyear launch

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Foxtel signals high-definition midyear launch

Foxtel has announced it will be soft-launching its high-definition broadcast service mid year with a fully-fledged service to be expected halfway through 2009.

Dubbed HD+, the service will initially launch with four 24/7 channels shown exclusively in full HD, including Fox Sports, BBC, Discovery and ESPN. Foxtel Box Office on demand movies will also be broadcast in HD.

“This is a significant moment in our short but very colourful history,” said Foxtel chief executive, Kim Williams. "Foxtel HD+ will deliver HD TV the way it should be. The service will optimise viewer experience, ensure more consumer choice, and provide unequalled customer and technical support and programming for Australian viewers."

Williams expects that once Foxtel gains access to the Optus D3 satellite in May 2009, the broadcaster will be able to “significantly” expand its cable capacity and offer a wider range of content.

Although Williams did not disclose a release date or pricing for Foxtel HD+, he ensured consumers that “[pricing] would be both attractive and exceptional value”.

Foxtel also announced that a new HD set-top box and hard disk recorder, the “IQ2”, would be the only way to access the HD+ service. The device, which covers all the regular functionality of the current IQ device, such as recording and EPG synchronicity, will also boast a larger, 320GB hard drive.

However, a Foxtel spokesperson said that users can expect to use only half of the 320GB capacity as the other half would be partitioned to store Foxtel’s Box Office movies.
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