BSkyB begins first digital TV broadcasts

- Digital television takes a step forward today as satellite TV company BSkyB begins transmitting 50 television channels in digital format.

- Digital television takes a step forward today as satellite TV company BSkyB begins transmitting 50 television channels in digital format.

The number of channels will rise to around 100 over the next week allowing BSkyB, which is 40 per cent owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International, to boast that it has met its launch deadline of the end of June.

That said the number of people receiving the new channels will be minimal. Digital decoder boxes are not yet readily available, and demand is thought to lag even further behind availability.

BSkyB will begin fully marketing the service next month when discounts will be offered to existing subscribers.

However, today's launch is only a precursor to the main commercial launch which will take place in September. BSkyB has said it is still on schedule to meet this rollout, when it will make as many as 200 channels available.

British Digital Broadcasting, a joint venture between Carlton Communications and Granada, has said it is also set to be ready for its scheduled digital launch date. It will unveil 15 new channels in November.





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