Feeds

Sky demos HDTV in UK

But no hard news on launch date or pricing

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The UK’s first and best blog devoted to High Definition TV - HDTVUK . From the makers of Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny.

Sky demos HDTV

Sky HDTV Box

Well the big news from Sky on HD is that there is no news, not yet anyway. The satellite broadcaster treated journos to a coffee or two in the wonderful Bar Italia – the place where John Logie Baird cracked television for the first time - and then shipped us over to Groucho's for the first ever live demo via satellite of its new service. But Sky stopped short of naming the day its service will launch and how much it will charge.

The demo itself was pretty impressive with a large projector and several 40inch LCD screens carrying a trailer that showed clips from movies, documentaries and the Champions League final in HD.

After the demo, Sky's Director of Customer Products and Services, Brian Sullivan, gave a fairly detailed speech about why Sky is launching HDTV and followed up with some reasonably candid responses to questions from the floor.

Sky had originally planned to launch HD in 2008 but brought the debut forward because of the growing availability of both HD video cameras and flat screen TVs. The development of the MPEG4 video compression system also eased its bandwidth worries.

The launch date will be announced in ‘the very near future’. We think that the hot money should be on spring 2006.

Pricing details will be announced in the new year. Sullivan did stress though it ‘will be affordable to the mass market from day one.’ Later in the Q&A sesh Sullivan added that there would be more than one programme package, but that Sky was very keen on keeping the pricing simple. We think that subscribers will pay an extra £10 a month over their existing Sky subscription costs for the service.

It will be a Sky+ box. There are no details on the size of the hard disk, but the hot money is on 300 Gigabytes. It'll certainly have more storage than the current model which has a 160 Gigabyte hard disk. Users will be able to watch one HD channel while recording another too. The box will also feature an Ethernet connector to enable it to connect with, hazarding a guess, a Sky Easynet broadband box which will most likely launch next year. This could download HD video to the box, or be used for interactive services.

Sky Sports will feature the best of the action from Sky's four existing channels the vast majority of which will be in HD. The two movie channels will almost certainly be completely all HD, but the HD Sky One and the Artstworld channel may include some standard definition footage. Among the top HD shows for Sky One are 24, Stargate, Bones, and Over there.

Sullivan suggested that there will be two third party channels at launch.

As Sullivan pointed out the BBC and ITV owns the rights to the live coverage of the World Cup and Sky would obviously love for one, or indeed both broadcasters to make HD football games available via free to air satellite. ‘We are prepared to give them the full depth of our technical resources,’ he quipped.

Other top stories on HDTVUK

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.