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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Sky showcases high definition TV
TV displays at a electronics show
Europe has lagged behind in HD TV development
Sky has unveiled the services which will be made available on its High Definition (HD) TV service from 2006.

Sky One, a Sky Sports Channel and two film screens will be among the programmes to mark the launch.

Among the first Box office hits to be offered in HD will include Spiderman 2 and House of Flying Daggers.

High Definition television offers clear, lifelike pictures and sound, while films retain their original cinema-style width.

Market leader

Sky's HD services will be offered as simulcasts alongside existing services, including the Artsworld channel which will offer opera, dance and classical music in the improved format.

Sky estimates that by the end of 2006, almost two million HDTV sets will have been sold in the UK.

Details about subscriptions for the Sky service are due to be announced in the coming months.

House Of Flying Daggers
House Of Flying Daggers will be among the first films shown on HDTV

The BBC's director general Mark Thompson made a pledge to deliver free-to-air HDTV services on all digital platforms "as soon as practical", which is expected to be by about 2010.

The HDTV system is already available in five markets around the world - Japan, Canada, Australia and South Korea and the US.

Japan has been the market leader, while growth has been fastest in the US.

There were concerns that the initially high prices of ready-made HDTV sets - would put off potential converts.

Sky is producing an HD box, which can be connected to any sort of television set, but consumers are being advised to buy those with an HDTV capability.

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