Skydigital TV News


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U>Direct pay-per-view service closes down
Independent pay-per-view service U>Direct appears to have closed down after removing its channels from the Sky Digital lineup and cancelling live coverage of a football game. All the broadcaster's channels have been taken off air and a live pay-per-view game between Newcastle and Munich was dropped at the last moment. It follows reports that U>Direct has been struggling financially. Third party channels which use U>Direct's transponder space on Sky Digital, such as Channel Health and Liberty TV, are unaffected by the closure. [Aug 5]

Chelsea Football Club unveils new channel
Chelsea Football Club has confirmed that its new channel, Chelsea TV, will launch on August 13 on Sky Digital. The station will be available on channel 427 and subscriptions will cost £6/month although the station will be free-to-air until August 20. Chelsea TV will broadcast highlights of the club's Premiership games along with news and interviews. [Aug 5]

New rival to Open set to start this autumn
A new interactive shopping service to rival Open is to launch on Sky Digital this autumn. Called BrightBlue, it will be a 'virtual high street' providing shopping, travel, betting, personal finance and more. The service claims that it will be more interactive than Open and easier to navigate. One of the first services to launch on BrightBlue will be Two Way TV (see separate story below). More details are available at the BrightBlue Web site. [Aug 4]

Sky is 'nervous' about ITV Sport Channel debut
ITV's controller of sport, Brian Barwick, believes Sky is "nervous" about the launch of ITV Sport Channel, which goes on air this coming weekend. "I have great respect for what they've done with sport on TV and I don't expect we will beat Sky Sports overnight," Mr Barwick told a national newspaper. "But we've got a real chance with ITV Sport Channel. I think Sky is slightly nervous about it." The ITV Digital exclusive channel will provide live Champions League, Nationwide League and Worthington Cup coverage. [Aug 3]

Sky Digital news in brief...
Christian TV channel TBN Europe has launched on channel 652... Welsh radio station Real Radio has started broadcasting on channel 896... New Asian radio channels Sukh Sagar Radio and Asian Gold Radio are expected to join the Sky Digital lineup this month on channels 900 and 901.

Two Way TV to launch on Sky Digital
Intreractive games provider Two Way TV is to launch in the Sky Digital lineup in September. The service will include games based on existing TV quiz shows plus original titles. Two Way TV's Managing Director, Matthew Tims, said: "Launching on satellite will give us complete coverage of all UK digital homes. We will be offering a great range of games and we expect to see large numbers of people paying to play games, which will generate significant revenues." [Aug 3]

Live pop concert for Sky Box Office
Sky Box Office will screen a live broadcast from Hear'Say's first UK tour. The program, Hear'Say - Live In Your Living Room, will be shown on Saturday 29 September and will cost £9.99. Repeats of the show will be shown every three hours from Sunday 30 September to Saturday 6 October. Available on Sky Digital Channel 770, viewers can call 08705 800 888 to order. [Aug 3]

Sky wins UEFA soccer TV rights
UEFA Cup home games involving Chelsea and Leeds United are to be shown exclusively on Sky Sports Extra this season. Sky, which holds stakes in both clubs, won the rights against other bidders which included the BBC and Channel 5. If Chelsea and Leeds are both playing at home on the same evening, both games will be broadcast. [Aug 2]