The Guardian are reporting that eventually after years of negotiation, a deal has been struck between ITV, BSkyB and Virgin Media, to bring ITV HD to the masses.

Football fans will be able to watch almost every football World Cup match in high definition this summer after ITV announced plans to launch ITV1 HD on 2 April.

ITV HDITV has struck deals with BSkyB, bringing an end to almost two years of negotiations, and Virgin Media to carry the new channel, and it is also launching on Freeview for the first time.

On Freesat, the ITV1 HD service will launch as a full channel, replacing a red button service.

The deal means that almost all of the 64 World Cup games, which are being split for broadcast by the BBC and ITV, will now be available to watch in high definition. The BBC already has a HD channel.

Nearly all of the matches will be shown on BBC1, BBC 2 or ITV1 except for eight in the earlier stages of the tournament which clash with other matches. These will be shown on either BBC3, the interactive streams of BBC1, or ITV2, ITV3 or ITV4.

ITV’s new HD channel will simulcast the ITV1 schedule including Britain’s Got Talent, Law and Order: UK, Foyles War and the prime ministerial debates.

"All of our output will benefit from the stunning picture quality that high definition offers, whether it’s ITV’s original drama, landmark factual shows, entertainment events or our live football," said Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television, channels and online.

BSkyB said today that as well as ITV1 HD there would also be high-definition channel launches for Hallmark and Sky Sports 4 on its digital satellite service. Sky has now passed 40 channels in HD on its service and has targeted 50 by Christmas.

via The Guardian

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