By Patrick Avenell
Foxtel has announced the launch date for their new HD+ service. Scheduled to coincide with the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier with China, HD transmissions will begin on Sunday 22 June. It will be the first time an association football game is broadcast in HD in Australia.
Foxtel chief executive and managing director, Kim Williams, revealed that more than 15,000 homes are currently ready to receive the HD+ broadcast, with that number set to increase once the service begins and Foxtel’s promotional activity is intensified.
This promotion will involve print, radio, TV and online advertisements – all coordinated under a campaign titled “Wonders Will Never Cease”. This campaign “explores how television has been an exciting and ever-evolving integral part of Australian lives [over] the past 50 years.”
Foxtel HD+ features exclusive content from five new dedicated channels. These are BBC HD, Discovery HD, National Geographic HD, Fox Sports HD and ESPN HD. In addition, a Foxtel Box Office HD channel is available for pay-per-view movies.
Although the focus is clearly on news/documentaries and sport, “the channel line up will expand as time progresses,” according to Williams.
The HD+ service is delivered through Foxtel iQ2 set-top boxes, which must be ordered through Foxtel and attract a one-off fee of $200. Additionally, there is a $10 per month rental fee and $14.95 per month access fee. The storage capacity of the iQ2 box is greater than the original, with up to 30 hours HD and 90 hours of regular programming able to be recorded. The series link and internet recording features are retained.