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Sky Sports News HD to launch on August 23

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Sky has confirmed that Sky Sports News HD will launch next month, joined by a new Sky Sports News iPad application.

On August 23, the high definition channel will become available to Sky+ HD subscribers offering a range of new features, such as a "fresher feel" in widescreen, along with sharper graphics and side panel videos to complement the main story.

The launch of Sky Sports News HD is part of a new pay-TV strategy for Sky Sports News, which will involve the removal of the standard definition channel from Freeview to be replaced by an hour timeshift of Sky3.

After the change, the Sky Sports News SD channel will only be available to Sky, TalkTalk TV and Virgin Media homes.

It is likely that Virgin Media subscribers will also get access to the Sky Sports News HD channel under carriage agreements between the two operators, although nothing has been confirmed as yet.

Also on August 23, Sky Sports News will launch a dedicated iPad application offering "breaking news, views and opinion from the world of sport".

The app will offer a live stream of Sky Sports News Radio, which is a brand new service broadcasting rolling sports news coverage. The radio service will also be available online from the Sky Sports website.

For the Sky Sports News HD launch, a raft of new programmes has been commissioned, including First, Fast And Now offering a daily roundup of sports news every morning from 10am to 1pm. Ed Chamberlin will further host a new live afternoon show on Sundays to keep viewers up to date with all the live sport available.

The news broadcaster has also hired more reporters, presenters and production staff to provide deeper coverage of the big stories in sport.

"At Sky Sports News we continue to push boundaries and innovate with both the journalism we offer and the quality of on-screen presentation," said Sky Sports News executive editor Andy Cairns.

"I'm delighted that through a combination of our move to HD, broader editorial coverage, and innovation on the TV, PC, iPad and mobile , we will once again raise the bar in broadcast sports news journalism."

The launch of Sky Sports News HD is part of Sky's strategy to offer new and existing subscribers additional premium sports content in the face of competition from BT, which has started offering Sky Sports 1 and 2 in time for the 2010/11 English Premier League season.

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