An agreement between cable group UPC and Philips will bring high-definition television to the Netherlands in 2006, followed by other European countries.

The companies say they believe 2006 will be the year of HDTV. Joint promotion activities will begin in the first half of 2006, with the World Cup football tournament in Germany expected to be a major driver.

“The agreement with UPC places Philips at the forefront of the European HDTV adoption wave,” said Rudy Provoost, chief executive of Philips Consumer Electronics.

Philips will provide its HDTV DCR7000 Euro-DOCSIS set-top box to UPC customers, with support for MPEG-4 and interactive services.

The further development of interactive digital television is crucial, says UPC. The company has started a 300 million rollout of digital television in the Netherlands.

UPC Broadband is a subsidiary of Liberty Global, operating in 13 countries in Europe.