London -- The BBC is using 2006 World Cup to kick off its 12 month trial of High Definition TV along with Wimbledon coverage taking place around the same time.
The BBC's HD trial is needed at two levels: to test technical delivery of HD and to understand how the audience values an BBC HD service. The latter is important. Under a new corporate structure, approval would be required from the BBC TRust before the introduction of an HDTV service.
Trials start on May 15.
The first live HD program will be the opening World Cup match Germany Vs Costa Rica on June 9.
BBC commentary and studio coverage in HD will wrap up the HD feed from German host broadcaster Premiere. Standard definition digital and analog BBC ONE coverage will also draw on high definition images, both for the World Cup and for Wimbledon where the BBC is the host broadcaster.
It will be an elaborate 12 months of programs featured in the trial.
These include Planet Earth and Galapagos, drama documentary Hannibal and some BBC Proms concerts including the First and Last Nights.
The amount of new programming each day will vary, averaging between one and two hours. Some programmes will be simulcast with BBC ONE or, in a few instances, BBC TWO.
Others will be time-shifted or offer another chance to view past highlights such as dramas Bleak House and Hotel Babylon in high definition for the first time.
The BBC will provide its HD trial stream on all technically capable platforms, including satellite and cable, once available, from commercial providers.
The BBC will run a simultaneous technical trial of HD on digital terrestrial television (Freeview). That trial will be confined to few hundred trial households in London, which will be chosen shortly.
[Editor - I am just wondering if the BBC will garner any experience from NHK who have been involved with HDTV for a number of years already]