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British Sky Broadcasting announces HDTV plans and appointment of Thomson

British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has announced the appointment of Thomson as the initial manufacturer of the set-top box for its forthcoming High-Definition Television (HDTV) service.
Speaking at the DVB World conference in Dublin, BSkyB's Chief Operating Officer, Richard Freudenstein, revealed for the first time that Sky's HDTV box would feature a similar Personal Video Recorder (PVR) capability to the existing Sky+ box.
Mr Freudenstein said: “More than 600,000 customers already enjoy the control and flexibility of our Sky+ product. Offering PVR capability as a standard in the HDTV arena will ensure that they can continue to enjoy these benefits in association with our highest-quality programming.”
Confirming that BSkyB was on track to launch HDTV in 2006, Mr Freudenstein added that the step change in picture quality would help BSkyB to achieve its target of 10 million customers in 2010.
He said: “Innovation and technology leadership are at the core of the Sky brand. By introducing HDTV, our ambition is to raise the bar again. We want to re-affirm that the digital satellite platform is the home of the highest-quality viewing experience available.”
Current strong growth in sales of flat-screen television sets indicates rising consumer demand for a high-quality viewing experience in the home. BSkyB expects that sales of “HD Ready” TV sets will accelerate as equipment prices continue to fall and the availability of HDTV programming grows.
Although BSkyB's HDTV box can be connected to any kind of TV set, customers will require an 'HD Ready' TV set with at least a flat-screen 26-inch display to enjoy the full benefits of high-quality HDTV pictures.
BSkyB forecasts that almost two million 'HD Ready' sets will have been sold in the UK by the end of 2006.

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