Sky goes public with Picnic plans

Satdude

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#1
Sky goes public with Picnic plans

Sky has gone public with detailed plans of its proposed pay TV offering on digital terrestrial television.

The move comes shortly before Ofcom's planned public consultation on Sky's proposal to replace its free channels - including Sky News - on digital terrestrial with pay services.

The service, were it to be approved by Ofcom, would be called Picnic and would initially offer three MPEG-2 streams, which at different times of day would carry Sky Sports 1, Sky Movies, Sky One, a children's channel and a factual channel. Sky is also seeking Ofcom approval to move to the newer MPEG-4 compression standard; if approved, Sky would then offer a fourth channel broadcasting Sky News on a 24 hour basis.

Sky plans to work with multiple manufacturers - at launch, primarily Sagem - to offer Picnic boxes that would be capable of receiving both MPEG-4 and existing MPEG-2 channels.

The topic of MPEG-4 adoption was most recently addressed by Ofcom in its discussion on the potential impacts of BBC HD - one of which being the channel potentially driving take-up of MPEG-4 compatible boxes, leading to "spectrum efficiency" benefits if it were to allow a switch to MPEG-4 from MPEG-2 earlier than expected. Sky's Picnic plans to offer "next generation" MPEG-4 boxes may appeal to the regulator for the same reasons.

Pricing was not announced today, but Picnic will be marketed as a triple-play solution including TV, Sky Talk, and Sky Broadband.

"The launch of Picnic will be a big step forward for customers who are hungry for value and simplicity," said Sky chief executive James Murdoch. "We are looking forward to the conclusion of the regulatory approval process so we can get going delivering a great service and real savings to customers."

Sky has readied a significant amount of marketing material, including the logo (pictured above) and a website for prospective customers to register their interest.

Regards Satdude.
 

rolfw

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#2
Hmm, this is what I was concerned might happen once Ofcom removed the restrictions on pay channels, it could seriously devalue Freeview if the free channels slowly start disappearing, I can't think this is what the government want for encouraging digital conversion.
 

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#3
Well what was that quote the other day 72% of the population have converted to digital now so it is time to sharpen the sticks and ram them (where else) up Joe Public's posterior and make him pay and pay and pay for a "freeview"?$%$£ service
 

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#4
back to the ONdigital days
 

rolfw

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#5
Well they may just catch a cold, can't see the flow of budget FTA only boxes slowing down and the late digital adopters are probably more likely to go for the cheapest option, certainly not dual format boxes, unless they are heavily discounted.
 

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#6
dasteelman said:
back to the ONdigital days

Diference being Sky already has the football market.. And i suppose the black market wouldnt get much from this. Ondigital was wide open, i doubt james would use anything else except from the encription used on the satellite platform.

Which will only leave Virgin with its N1 encription.

I really do hope offcom doesnt allow this.. cant see how it doing so with all the hype of "get free tv via your ariel" to get you to switch over in 2 weeks times..

I think personaly Sky want the foot under the table for when the analogue system is turned off. i mean look at the freed spectrum. BBC1 alone will allow another 6-8 Digital channels.. Sell that to sky as the highest bidder and bam another way to recieve sky without an ariel.
 

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#7
Yeshi said:
I think personaly Sky want the foot under the table for when the analogue system is turned off.
Yes, don't think there is any question about their intention, but if Ofcom had stuck to their guns, they would have had to do it with free offerings. :)

I would add that ofcom should insist that set top box manufacturers include an easy channel edit function, as wading through channels which cannot be received is irksome to say the least.
 

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#8
Sky's digital TV plans under scrutiny

Friday, 05 Oct 2007 13:47


BSkyB's plans to replace its free-to-air channels on digital terrestrial television (DTT) with pay-TV services are to be scrutinised.

The pay-TV giant announced earlier this week that it wanted to replace the three free-to-air channels it currently offers on Freeview with five subscription channels.

But the UK's media regulator said today that the plans raised potential concerns about competition and has launched a consultation on the proposals.

Ofcom stressed however that it was not making a specific recommendation in regard to the plans at this stage.

Under existing arrangements BSkyB provides Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky Three on the DTT platform on a free-to-air basis.

But the company now wants to replace the channels with Sky Sports 1 and in the evening with Sky One and Sky Movies SD1. The remainder of BSkyB's capacity would be used to offer a factual channel and a children's channel from third party providers during the daytime.

Ofcom said that while the Sky proposal would increase the choice and availability of pay-TV services on the DTT platform, it could make prevent other providers from operating on Freeview, which has a limited capacity.

Explaining the reasons for its decision to consult on the plans the regulator stressed: "Ofcom wants to ensure that consumers have the benefit of innovation and new services on digital TV while ensuring fair and effective competition in pay-TV, both on DTT and more widely."

BSkyB has claimed that its proposals, which it is seeking to put into practice as part of a new service known as Picnic, will benefit its customers. The company's chief executive James Murdoch described the plans as a "big step forward for customers who are hungry for value and simplicity".

Ofcom's decision to review the plans will come as a further blow to BSkyB, which was told by the Competition Commission earlier this week that its 17.9 per cent stake in broadcaster ITV restricted competition.

Regards Satdude.
 

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#9
Satdude said:
The company's chief executive James Murdoch described the plans as a "big step forward for customers who are hungry for value and simplicity".
I would say it is to satisfy Mr Murdoch's hunger for the general public's money. Why should people have to pay money to watch a freeview service. Only in ripoff UK could this happen, what does he intend doing with all these shirts?
 
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#10
If Sky are going to cease transmission of their free TV channels on freeview then they should get off freeview and free up the frequencies for other free channel providers.
 

Yeshi

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#11
At the end of the day, sky only wants his pay channels on freeview simply because freeview has more viewers. im eager to see how the new freesat service pans out?? personaly i think murdoch is worried :). sky could see a decline.
 

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#12
i think sky are worried about satanta sports i am seeing more and more people who are subscribing to this pay tv provider.most new tvs come with a cam slot so it would be easy to compete.if the price is the same what would u go for sky sports 1 or satanta.
 
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#13
rolfw said:
I would add that ofcom should insist that set top box manufacturers include an easy channel edit function, as wading through channels which cannot be received is irksome to say the least.
This infuriated me when I went down the Freesat from SKY route after my freeview terrestrial signal became blocked by a new building.

I rang SKY and asked if I could delete all the channels which I couldnt view. The answer "NO" so i have to wade through them. Its also anoying that SKYs EPG cannot be used with the tv audio still going or the picture visible in the background or in a box. SKYs boxes are not user freindly at all. Freeview boxes knock spots off skys efforts for user freindliness.
 
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#14
Yeshi said:
I think personaly Sky want the foot under the table for when the analogue system is turned off. i mean look at the freed spectrum. BBC1 alone will allow another 6-8 Digital channels.. Sell that to sky as the highest bidder and bam another way to recieve sky without an ariel.
I wonder if the spectrum that is freed up by analogue switch off will actually be used for more digital tv channels. I heard talk of the freed up spectrum being sold off to mobile phone companies and other communications based applications.
 

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#15
goffy said:
This infuriated me when I went down the Freesat from SKY route after my freeview terrestrial signal became blocked by a new building.

I rang SKY and asked if I could delete all the channels which I couldnt view. The answer "NO" so i have to wade through them. Its also anoying that SKYs EPG cannot be used with the tv audio still going or the picture visible in the background or in a box. SKYs boxes are not user freindly at all. Freeview boxes knock spots off skys efforts for user freindliness.
Whilst you cant delete the unused channels you can set up (upto 50) favourites and just step through them using the blue button.

Whilst Sky boxes might not be well designed they do one job superbly - that of bringing multi channel satellite tv to Joe Public in an almost idiot proof box.
 

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#16
I have no problem with the Sky digibox and the EPG and believe that it is one of the most user friendly and functional around, particularly if you have Sky+.

When referring to editable channel list, I was primarily aiming this at Freeview boxes, but agree that Sky digiboxes when used for Freesat, carry a ridiculous number of unviewable channels.
 
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