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Sky News HD to launch on election day: Good and bad news for your eyes

On the one hand, it's smashing that Sky News will be rendered in handsome HD. On the other, Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes will become totally unsuitable for all humans with functioning eyes

The launch of Sky News HD this Thursday creates an aesthetic dichotomy for British TV viewers. On the one hand, we think it's smashing that our news will be rendered in handsome HD. On the other, Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes will become totally unsuitable for all humans with functioning eyes.

Sky has developed its news centre in West London into an HD-ready facility in preparation for the launch, which luckily coincides with the election. Hi-def feeds have already been provided for events such as the prime ministerial debates, the inauguration of President Obama and Michael Jackson's funeral.

While Sky has invested heavily in HD, however, it's fair to say that a good percentage of its output is derived from non-HD sources, so you can expect some upscaling to take place.

You might wonder why we need a news channel to be in HD, but when you consider the potential for HD graphics and extra on-screen information, it does all start to make more sense. Sky intends to add what it calls 'HD Premium Panels' to its HD video, for example. This informational will include contextual data -- a graph of how many people want to vote for David Cameron next to his massive forehead, for example.

Sky News HD

Sky also suggests that it may accept user comments from services such as Twitter too, which will give a well-informed public a platform for their considered thoughts.

Extra on-screen information could have been included when Sky News converted to 16:9, but legacy support for 4:3 TVs makes this a dangerous proposition. HD, by contrast, is designed from the ground up as a widescreen format, so it's not hamstrung by ancient technology.

However you justify HD, it's still excellent to see the UK's first HD news channel and we applaud Sky's ongoing commitment to high-definition TV. It's now even closer to achieving its goal of 50 HD channels by the end of the year. Further launches this year include Five HD and Hallmark HD, with more as time goes on. You can find Sky News HD on channel 517 from Thursday 6 May, a date likely to produce a decent amount of news for the new channel to cover.