Channel 4 has announced a joint initiative with Nokia to transmit widescreen programming. The initiative means Channel 4 will be the first terrestrial broadcaster to transmit widescreen programming in the UK.
Nokia and Channel 4 have been granted help from the EC to aid funding. This will enable C4 to transmit 500 hours of PALplus programming between October and the end of December 1995.
Widescreen broadcasts will enable feature films to be seen as they were made for cinema screens; for those viewers without a PALplus screen, when C4 is transmitting in widescreen the picture will appear in letterbox format, which means black bands at the top and bottom of the screen.
A major advantage to the technology is that it is “backwards compatible”, which means that viewers with PAL televisions willl be able to receive PALplus broadcasts on their existing sets.
Nokia points out that the “home-cinema” sector is fast growing; in France, where a widescreen service is already being broadcast, sales of widescreen sets have leapt from just 3,500 sets in 1992 to a projected 100,000 in 1994.
PALplus should also be compatible with digital technology once it becomes available.
Frank McGettigan, director and general manager of Channel 4 said, “C4 always strives to be as innovative in its technology as in its programming, and we are delighted to lead the advance into widescreen broadcasting.”
C4’s widescreen programmes will initially be transmitted in the south east area, with national broadcasts starting from January 1995.
Nokia Consumer Electronics: 0793 644223