The BBC will debut its public service digital channels on Wednesday, kicking off a television revolution.
The BBC will transmit BBC1, BBC2, BBCNews 24 and BBC Choice, the digital entertainment channel, on both terrestial and satellite digital platforms. It has yet to announce a date for a cable service.
The BBC maintains that digital services will give its viewers widescreen with interference free picture and enhanced sound quality. Unfortunately, not all its viewers will be able to tune into the digital services from this week.
BSkyB plans to launch its 200-channel digital service, which will include the BBC, at the beginning of October. The decoders necessary for digital satellite pictures will not go on sale until then. Terrestrial decoders are unlikely to be available until November. Digital cable channels are not scheduled to go live until next year.
Director general Sir John Birt said that the BBC?s committment to public service broadcasting would bring the benefits of digital to every household. ?The BBC?s digital proposition will be available to all - not just those who can afford to pay subscription," he said.
The start of the BBC?s digital transmissions will enable manufacturers to put their terrestrial receiver-integrated TV sets through final tests. Sony is expected to be one of the first to market with an integrated set in November, priced at around #1,500.
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