Sky Deutschland is embarking on a major HD offensive and will be the first TV broadcaster in Germany to commence switching off SD channels in the DTH satellite market.
While on German cable, analogue switch-off is still running and the discussion about SD switch-off on satellite has only just begun, the step would confirm Sky Deutschland’s role as a technological first-mover. The pay-TV operator benefits from the fact that all current Sky receivers and flat-screen TV sets are HD-capable.
As a first step, Sky intends to activate all Sky subscribers for HD reception by November 15, 2018 at no extra charge, as Broadband TV News has learned from distribution partners affected by the move. This clears the way for the closure of 14 SD feeds on November 29: Disney Junior, Beate-Uhse.TV, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, 13th Street, Fox Series, TNT Series, Syfy, NatGeo Wild, Spiegel Geschichte, Sky 1, TNT Film, Disney Cinemagic and Sky Atlantic.
From November 15, these channels will carry a text caption with SD shutdown information. The channels will continue to be available to Sky subscribers in HD quality. Other SD channels on Sky are not affected and will continue to be offered in standard resolution.
In addition to the former SD channels, which Sky customers will then be able to receive in HD quality, the HD channels E! Entertainment HD, Eurosport 1 HD, History HD, Sky Arts HD, TNT Comedy HD and Universal HD will be added for new Sky subscribers and existing customers of the Sky Starter package. All Cinema customers will in future always have the channels TNT Film HD and Disney Cinemagic HD included in their package. Activation will take place automatically and without extra charge.
The SD switch-off is part of a major transponder reorganisation by Sky Deutschland on November 29 on the Astra satellite system (19.2° East), through which the pay-TV broadcaster serves DTH satellite households and distribution partners such as cable operators and IPTV providers, who will also be affected by the move. The SD switch-off and reshuffle enables Sky to vacate two transponders. It is, however, not known what Sky will do with the bandwidth at this stage.
As part of the reorganisation, Sky will discontinue the HD channels Sky Select HD, Blue Movie HD and Sky 1+1 HD. Sky Select content in HD will in future be offered via the Sky Store video-on-demand service. Select channels 1-9 and the Select portal are not affected by the changes. Blue Movie content in HD will then be available via the 18+ app on Sky Q. Sky 1+1 HD will be replaced by the series on-demand offer on Sky On Demand and Sky Go.
At the same time, many Sky channels will change transponders. If the channel listing is not automatically updated by the receiver, viewers should perform a channel search on their reception device.
A Sky Deutschland spokesman did not want to comment on the changes when approached by Broadband TV News, but pointed to an upcoming press release on the subject.