The BBC HD service, currently running as a trial, has taken a step closer to becoming a 'real' TV service. The BBC Trust has announced that its is giving provisional backing to the service, subject to the results of a public consultation.

A final decision will be taken on November 21st, with the BBC saying a four-hour service could launch 'almost immediately' on Freeview. But it's thought the Freeview implementation may be delayed to avoid consumers having to buy several new set-top boxes.

The current trial service should be provided on a continuing basis on satellite and cable when a service licence is granted, said the trust, which also said it is to consult the public on a four-hour service on Freeview.

The problem is that consumers woulod have to buy a new set-top box to receive this service, then later another new box to view the full nine-hour HD service the BBC is proposing, due to differences in the way the two services would be broadcast. Those nine-hour plans will be reviewed early in 2008.

The new HD service would draw on all the BBC's channels, and would not merely replicate BBC One as, for example, Sky One HD duplicates Sky One.

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