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Sky's £299 HD box to launch in May

Sky has confirmed what we all suspected -- that it will launch its groundbreaking hi-def service ahead of the World Cup in May, with the box priced at £299 and the subscription at £10 a month extra

Sky has treated Crave like a seal at a zoo, throwing us very occasional fishy morsels of information on its upcoming HD service to keep us clapping our flippers like demented idiots. But the Internet abhors a vacuum, so rumours circulating about Sky's biggest project since its launch in 1989 mean that there was little surprise when the company announced a £299 price point for the box, a £10-a-month subscription fee and a May launch ahead of the World Cup.

What do you get for the hefty asking price? The box itself is rumoured to pack a 300GB hard drive and an HDMI output, but it's the subscription packages that will mark the long-term investment for HD lovers. On top of your existing package, it will be £10 a month to receive the HD channels, which include Sky One, National Geographic and Discovery.

If you want Sky Sports HD you'll need to subscribe to Sky Sports 1 and 2 as well, and if you want Sky Movies 9 HD or Sky Movies 10 HD you'll need to have Sky Movies 1 and Sky Movies 2 respectively. If you don't subscribe to two or more premium channels and want to use the Sky+ recording system, then Sky will take yet another £10 a month from your wallet. The result is that if you want everything (and that doesn't include the pay-per-view movies on Sky Box Office HD) you'll end up paying £52.50 per month, so only the loaded or the football-mad need apply.

If you want this high-definition goodness screaming out of your telly pipe in time for the World Cup, you'd best head over to the Sky HD site and tell them you've got a disposable income that would make Patrick Bateman jealous. At least you can take some comfort in the fact that all of the BBC's World Cup matches will be in HD for free -- but only over satellite or cable services, not Freeview. Damn them! -GC