Five pulls out of Project Canvas, launches Five HD on Sky and Virgin instead

Good news: Five has launched an HD channel! Bad news: it's decided to pull out of universal IPTV offering Project Canvas because of the high cost

Ian Morris
2 min read

Times are tough for the nation's newest terrestrial broadcaster -- long gone are the heady Spice Girls days. Five, which doesn't currently make a profit and has been put up for sale by its parent company RTL, recently announced that it was pulling out of Project Canvas. But every cloud has a lining of some sort, and this one is highly defined, because Five has launched an HD channel.

Five HD hasn't actually got around to showing anything in high definition yet, but the channel, which can be found on Sky at 171 and Virgin at 150, is showing upscaled standard definition at the moment. It looks like the channel will kick off its HD broadcasts this Sunday, when it cashes in on Glee-mania with a song and dance show it's called -- what else? -- Don't Stop Believing.

Five tells us to expect hit US shows such as The Mentalist and Grey's Anatomy to appear soon. Oddly, other US shows produced in HD aren't included, presumably for contractual reasons. CSI -- produced by CNET UK's parent company, CBS -- won't be appearing straight away.

The company's decision to extricate itself from Project Canvas is understandable. It's expected to have cost the company around £16m per year, and would be slow to produce any revenue for the broadcaster. The costs will now be borne by the other parties, which include the BBC, ITV and telecoms companies BT and TalkTalk.

If you're interested in buying Five, the asking price is around the £200m mark. They'll throw in a nearly new Natasha Kaplinsky and a documentary about a lad who has a bottom for a face.