HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 cc1354-5
40. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Postmaster-General when he now expects a colour television service to be established in this country.

Mr. Benn

My Television Advisory Committee is studying the various views and intentions expressed at the Vienna conference, and the considerations advanced in support of them. Until the Committee's appraisal is complete, I cannot usefully add to my earlier Answers.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Is not it a fact that colour television for Britain is as far off as ever it was? Cannot we show some initiative and take the American N.T.S.C. system instead of trailing our feet and waiting for Europe to make up its mind?

Mr. Benn

It was hoped, as the hon. Gentleman knows, that there would be some agreement in Europe about a new system but so far that is not possible. The Television Advisory Committee is considering the various systems involved. A decision which would separate us from Europe, taken without careful thought, obviously would be a very serious matter. I think it would be wise not to anticipate the findings of the Committee.

Mr. Mawby

Will the right hon. Gentleman tread very gingerly in respect of this matter? It is important, surely, that if there is to be a colour system it ought to be compatible with those with whom we shall share programmes in future?

Mr. Benn

I accept absolutely what the hon. Gentleman says. One of the tragedies of the situation is that as a result of the European decision, international world standardisation appears now not to be possible. That poses very difficult problems for countries like ourselves.

Mr. Shepherd

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how difficult it would be in financial and technical terms to make these incompatible systems compatible for interchange?

Mr. Benn

That is one of the issues which the Television Advisory Committee is looking at.

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