UK commercial broadcaster ITV has announced a deal with cable operator ntl Telewest to provide its soccer World Cup matches in HD, making it the only UK commercial platform to broadcast every live World Cup match in the format.
The deal comes as ITV prepares to launch a six-month trial of HD over digital terrestrial (DTT) test frequencies with other commercial broadcasters and transmission provider Arqiva this summer in the London area. The service will launch on both platforms shortly prior to the start of the World Cup competition.
Simon Fell, Controller of Emerging Technologies at ITV, said: "With the popularity of large-screen HD Ready sets we are excited by the opportunity to extend the content from our HDTV Terrestrial trial to ntl Telewest customers subscribing to its new TVDrive service.
"This trial service will allow us to evaluate the technology and give us valuable insight into viewer attitudes to HD programming," he continued. "It will help to show the possibilities for HD broadcasts delivered over Digital-Cable platforms and DTT should spectrum become available in future."
Alongside the World Cup matches and commentary, viewers will be able to see documentary material including the epic new wildlife series Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures, and classic films including All Quiet on the Western Front and The Big Sleep, courtesy of a deal with Granada International (GI), ITV's leading international programming distribution subsidiary. GI will also be providing a range of drama including a number of Agatha Christie's Poirot specials, including Death on the Nile and Murder in Mesopotamia.