08 June 2006 | Paul Snell
Thousands of Sky customers will miss out on watching the 2006 World Cup in extra sharp high-definition (HD) pictures after the broadcaster reported problems with its supplier of the boxes needed to receive HD transmissions.
HD television broadcasts display images in either 720 or 1080 lines of pixels, compared with 576 lines on a standard PAL broadcast.
Sky began taking bookings on 13 April. In the first three weeks it received 40,000 advance orders for the set-top boxes.
But the satellite operator has been forced to delay around 17,000 installations because of a problem at Thomson, the sole supplier of the boxes.
A Sky spokesman said in a statement: "We ordered more than enough boxes to meet demand and we're ready to install them, but they're not arriving from our supplier as fast as we agreed."
Sky attributed the problems to a delay in the manufacturing process. The spokesman said the difficulty was a short-term issue, and that Sky expected production volumes to double over the next three weeks.
The company has apologised to customers waiting for an HD box to be installed, saying that it was "very sorry for any disappointment caused".
Thomson did not respond to SM's request for a comment.
Both ITV and BBC will show games in high definition through either Sky or cable TV.