Football. Opium of the proletarian mind. You may find 22 men kicking a ball around a patch of grass about as exciting as embroidery, but at least there's the possibility of a ringside seat at some good old ultraviolence. And if bloodshed's on your mind, then high definition is what you need: what finer way is there to watch a hooligan deranged on Stella bottling a Scandinavian in a comedy horned helmet? And the BBC's new free-to-air hi-def satellite channel could be the way to do it.
A new Humax box, the HDCI-2000, will let you watch the new hi-def satellite channels without a Sky box, and without paying a subscription. The BBC will be broadcasting the World Cup in hi-def and has already screened programmes such as Bleak House and Planet Earth.
If you get right up close to your HD Ready screen when watching hi-def, you can see the tiny droplets of blood on the forehead of a dying football fan, perfectly rendered. Or if random bottlings like that aren't your thing, then you could peer deep into the cavernous pores of. Extraordinary.
Viewing experiences such as these won't cost you a subscription fee. Free-to-air hi-def is a new concept in the UK, but the BBC seems to support it, as does the mysterious broadcaster Euro 1080. Free-to-air represents one of the cheapest ways to get high definition now. You'll need the Humax HDCI-2000 (£300) and a satellite dish (around £12 on eBay), and be prepared for a spot of fiddling about on the roof. Either that or call in a specialist to set up your dish. Let us know how you're getting on with the new free-to-air hi-def stations and we'll bring you a full review of the HDCI-2000 soon. -CS
Update: a full review of theis now live.