UPDATED / A week after launching its first permanent free-to-air HD channel, Sky locked out continental viewers on Thursday by pulling the SD version of Sky Mix before turning it back on a day later.
- Sky Mix was launched in HD-only on both Sky UK/Ireland and Freesat. Users of older boxes lost access to the channel as it was delisted.
- Sky has been tinkering about with the remaining SD feed on satellite, which resulted in viewers across Europe losing access.
- It is one of relatively few UK channels receivable with a normal dish size across the continent.
On Thursday, Sky annoyed viewers across Europe when it turned off the Sky Mix SD signal, just over a week after Sky Mix replaced Pick.
Sky Mix SD was delisted from both Sky and Freesat boxes when the HD version launched on Wednesday 18th October. While satellite viewers in the UK and Ireland lost the SD version from their channel list, the SD feed continued to be received across Europe. In countries including Poland and Spain, the SD channel can be received without the oversized dish normally reserved for UK free-to-air satellite channels.
The new Sky Mix HD channel does not have Europe-wide coverage. Instead it broadcasts using the UK spotbeam. The UK spotbeam ensures all major free-to-air broadcaster’s signals are not widely available across Europe. Sky Mix HD broadcasts alongside services from the BBC, ITV1 and Channel 4 HD. As a result, any loss of the Europe-wide SD version blacks out the channel outside of the UK spotbeam coverage.
Just a day after turning off Sky Mix SD engineers working for Sky have re-uplinked the channel to satellite. Both the UK and Ireland SD versions are broadcasting on their original parameters.
The channel is still absent from the Sky and Freesat channel list, where only the HD channel is listed. This means most domestic viewers will be blissfully unaware of what’s happening. There’s no official confirmation of what’s happening, as the SD channel isn’t officially available to UK/Ireland satellite viewers.
RXTV had heard from a small number of viewers that Sky Mix didn’t upgrade to HD on their Freesat receiver, but this was likely due to the receiver missing the update or needing a factory reset.
Europe broadcast rights
The move comes as Sky Mix introduces a range of Sky Originals and acquired series broadcast free-to-air for the first time.
This includes nature series Shark with Steve Backshall (previously shown on Sky Nature), Rob & Romesh versus (previously Sky One/Sky Max), Liverpool Narcos (Sky Documentaries) and True Detective (Sky Atlantic).
Late on Saturday, Sky Mix is the home to Sky Original films. This Saturday (28th), the slot features SAS: Red Notice, starting Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose.
A number of Sky Original shows on Sky Mix will appear on Sky’s subscription platforms in other countries, including Sky TV in Germany and its new streaming service Sky Showtime (operated as a joint venture with Paramount). For third-party content on Sky Mix, such as HBO’s True Detective, Sky would need to hold Europe-wide broadcast rights. Therefore, it would make little business interest to continue Sky Mix’s Europe-wide distribution, but while it lasts gives viewers access to content that might otherwise be behind a paywall.
Sky Mix HD tuning information
There are two versions of Sky Mix HD broadcast on satellite.
One for the UK, and appearing on Sky and Freesat HD boxes. Sky viewers can watch on channel 151. Meanwhile, on Freesat, the channel’s on 144.
The second, for the Republic of Ireland one is solely for Sky boxes in the Republic of Ireland (channel 151). However, it can be manually tuned on Freesat boxes. Programmes are identical, only adverts vary.
For viewers with non-Sky or Freesat boxes, the following parameters are for manual tuning purposes. A reminder that Europe-wide reception with domestic-sized dishes is no longer possible.
Sky Mix HD (UK)
Satellite: Astra 2F (28.2°E) Frequency: 12227 Polarisation: Horizontal Symbol Rate: 27500 FEC: 2/3 Service ID: 5831
Sky Mix HD (ROI)
Satellite: Astra 2F (28.2°E) Frequency: 12168 Polarisation: Vertical Symbol Rate: 27500 FEC: 2/3 Service ID: 5052
Despite Sky Mix’s transition to HD-only broadcasting on satellite, it’s notable that Sky still offers SD channels to UK & Ireland viewers. These include Sky Replay and Challenge.