The UK’s ITV network has launched its HD service on Freesat by broadcasting the opening games from Euro 2008.
Freesat is a subscription-free, digital satellite TV service from ITV and the BBC.
Viewers can see all the games the BBC has rights to in high definition on Virgin Media and Sky, but ITV announced that its debut HD programmes would be matches on the opening few days of the football tournament.
The first HD offering from ITV was the Portugal v Turkey match on Saturday.
Following this, ITV’s games through to the 13th of June will also be available in high definition, by pressing the red button on ITV1 when viewing on Freesat.
Although Euro 2008 will occupy the channel for the next few weeks, Simon Fell, Controller Emerging Technologies, ITV Consumer, said there would also be HD coverage of England football internationals, the Champions League football and selected dramas.
Speaking at Understanding and Solutions’ Driving Digital Content event, Mr Fell said the red button strategy was made necessary by the structure of the ITV Network. “We’re a regional business funded by advertising and that’s the model we have to keep to,” he said.
Once an HD broadcast has completed, viewers will be returned to their local ITV region.