Sky makes a significant move towards HD only distribution in the UK.
Sky Cinema Select (currently broadcasting as Sky Cinema Star Wars), Sky Cinema Hits and Sky Cinema Sci-fi/Horror will be HD only on satellite from the end of June.
Subscribers with old SD only boxes will as a result receive three fewer channels if they subscribe to Sky Cinema. For the past four years, HD channels have been provided “as standard” for Sky Cinema subscribers on satellite, with Sky heavily pushing upgrades to its newer Sky Q platform.
Meanwhile, Sky will also be launching a new cinema channel – Sky Cinema Animation – which will be available to all Sky customers and carried on Now TV, on 23rd July.
14 years after pioneering HD TV in the UK, it’s the first time Sky has moved to close down a number of its standard definition channels in favour of HD-only broadcasting, although some third-party channels on Sky’s satellite platform, led by Japan’s NHK World, have already dropped standard definition.
Sky has already reduced SD channels on its Austrian and German service, even moving to the newer MPEG4 standard, rendering older SD-only boxes incompatible with Sky. A similar move has been long-awaited in the UK and Ireland.