Sky has announced plans to launch a package of pay-TV channels on the UK’s digital terrestrial platform. The new service will include Premiership football coverage in competition with Setanta Sports, which has secured two of the six Premiership packages from the start of next season, and is available on DTT through the Top Up TV platform. Setanta goes live on Top Up TV March 1 and this week began taking subscription orders.
The bouquet will take the place of Sky’s existing three channels on Freeview, Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports, and will use the MPEG-4 compression system allowing an initial four channels to be broadcast with the expectation that more will be added in the future. Sky says that it is expecting multiple set-top box manufacturers to be able to offer boxes once the conditional access, most likely the NDS VideoGuard system, has been confirmed.
The launch of the new services will require approval from the regulator Ofcom as variations to the licences held by National Grid Wireless and Sky will be needed.
Sky’s pay movie and sports channels were a part of the ITV Digital platform until its collapse in 2002.