Sky has finally announced the pricing for its HDTV service. The Sky HD box will sell for £299 and the HD channel package will be an additional £10 a month. At one point it seemed as if the HD channels would be free to those taking the full Sky package, but with widely predicted hardware shortages, which will prevent take-up anyway, the satcaster obviously feels it has a window to milk the early adopters.
Says, Brian Sullivan, Sky’s Director of Product Strategy and Management:
“Sky is just weeks away from an exciting new era that will transform the television viewing experience. Sky HD customers will be able to enjoy stunning picture and sound quality from the widest range of HD channels in the UK and Ireland. We’re delighted that the BBC has said that its HD coverage of the World Cup will be available to all customers with a Sky HD box as a non-subscription channel.”
Viewers who registered their interest in Sky HD prior to 23 March now have the chance to pre-order online. Sales will open to everyone else in April. The initial Sky HD channel line up will consist of:
Sky Sports HD
Live Barclays Premiership football and Guinness Premiership Rugby union are already being produced in High-Definition by Sky Sports in preparation for Sky’s HD launch. From the start of the domestic cricket season, England’s home Tests and one-Day internationals and country matches will also be produced in HD. From the 2006-07 season, Sky HD will offer live matches in the Coca Cola League in high definition, together with live coverage from the Carling Cup.
Sky Movies HD and Sky Box Office HD
Viewers will be able to choose from two Sky Movies HD screens dedicated to films broadcast in HD, and up to ten extra movies in HD each week on Sky Box Office. Sky Movies HD titles will include Kill Bill: Vol 1, Spider-Man 2 and Big Fish.
Sky One will be simulcast in HD offering a selection of top US shows. Sky One series confirmed for HD include 24, Rescue Me, Bones, Over There, Stargate and Stargate Atlantis.
Artsworld will be simulcast in HD showing a selection of arts programming including opera, dance and classical music. Artsworld HD performances confirmed for 2006 include The Marriage of Figaro, Othello, The Who Live at the Isle of Wight, Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight Festival (fully remastered in HD) and Anthony Minghella Directs Madam Butterfly.
Discovery HD will call on a library of more than 1,000 hours of high-definition content ranging from culture, engineering, science, technology and nature to travel and lifestyle themes.
National Geographic HD
A HD National Geographic channel will be available at launch offering a range of HD content including innovative factual programming, much of which will be available in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Not already a Sky subscriber? This is the damage:
A Sky digital subscription ranges from £15-£42.50 per month. Sky One HD, Artsworld HD, National Geographic HD, Discovery HD and Sky Box Office HD (pay-per-view charges apply) will be available to all Sky HD subscribers. To get Sky Sports HD you will need Sky Sports 1 & 2 in your Sky digital package. To get Sky Movies 9 HD you will also need Sky Movies 1 in your package and for Sky Movies 10 HD you will need Sky Movies 2. The Sky+ capability of the Sky HD box requires a Sky+ subscription (free when you subscribe to two or more Sky Premium Channels, otherwise £10 a month).