The BBC is asking for all shows made for the corporation to be produced in high definition come April 2011. Goodbye standard definition: your time is up.
With this in mind, Auntie will add a second HD channel to its
line-up in September this year. BBC One HD will simultaneously broadcast everything shown on its flagship
channel, BBC One. It joins BBC HD, which launched in December 2007.
The new rules apply to all 'network' programmes, which we presume means some regional TV programmes will remain in standard definition. Shows that are made in HD won't always be shown in the format, as the BBC still doesn't have as much HD capacity as it has SD channels.
The date is at least a year past the BBC's initial goal of having all production in HD by 2010. Although many shows are produced in the format, costs mean significant numbers are not. The cost of HD is decreasing all the time, but it's a problem that hasn't entirely gone away.
The Beeb has also informed producers which equipment it considers high enough quality for HD delivery. Unsurprisingly, the high-end list features kit costing anywhere from tens of thousands of pounds right up to cameras -- such as the Sony F35 -- that cost £150,000. You can see the full list on the BBC's site, but for us, the biggest surprise is it's only accepting Red-originated material from independent producers, presumably to stop employees getting carried away and trying to record Cash in the Attic in 4K.
By the end of the year, the corporation expects some of its biggest shows will finally make the move to HD. EastEnders is the obvious candidate -- the excuse given for its hi-def delay has been that it needs radical re-working of the sets in order to get everything looking tip-top. There are other shows that should have been HD for ages though, such as QI and Blue Peter.
Still, we welcome all new HD with open arms, and we can't wait for an improved HD service from the nation's best broadcaster. Let us know what you're looking forward to seeing in shiny hi-def in the comments below.