Another addition to England World Cup anxiety

25 May 2006

Wayne Rooney isn’t all that English fans will be worrying about being ready in time for the World Cup. Delays in the delivery of high-definition (HD) television set-top boxes for BskyB customers will mean many of them will not have the service available for all or some of the football tournament.

Up to 17,000 households will face delays in installation of the service after France’s Thosmon failed to deliver enough set-top boxes. In some cases customers who were told they would be watching the Three Lions brigade in glorious HD quality will not have it installed until after the tournament has begun.

“We ordered more than enough boxes from our supplier to meet strong demand from customers and we’re ready to install them but they’ve not arrived from Thomson,” a Sky spokesman said. “Most of those customers will be offered an installation date within two weeks of their original date. Every customer who was scheduled to have their HD box before the World Cup will either receive it before or during the tournament.”

The delay will not affect Irish customers hoping to see the old foe go out in the second round in vibrant colour and enhanced sound.

“There is no issue for the Irish marketplace and the service is available. It’s a UK-specific issue,” said spokesperson for Sky Ireland Geraldine O’Neill.

Only about 100,000 households around Europe are expected to view the World Cup in HD quality due to rollout problems. It was previously hoped the tournament would be the perfect showcase for the new technology.

The BBC is broadcasting matches in HD but they will only be available to Sky HD subscribers and some users on NTL’s cable system.

By Niall Byrne