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Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK


Digital dawn for BBC

The BBC has announced that its new public service digital channel, called BBC Choice, will be launched in late September.

The channel will include a daily sports programme, extended coverage of music events plus special theme nights and repeats of top shows.

Transmission of the service, designed to complement BBC ONE and BBC TWO, will begin via digital satellite on September 23. But viewers will not be able to see the channel until set-top decoders are available a week later.

Katharine Everett, BBC Choice head of programming, said: "There's been months, years of talks about digital. Now it's here."

The channel has a £20m budget and will provide 3,500 hours of programming a year. The new network will offer different versions of BBC Choice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with each broadcasting a mix of local as well as network programming.

Satellite viewers will be able to pick up which ever version of Choice they wish to see, regardless of where they live, while digital terrestrial viewers will receive the service for their area.

BSkyB is launching its digital satellite service on October 1 and will broadcast over 140 digital channels.

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