Sky is the brand
name for BSkyB's digital satellite television and radio service,
transmitted from the Astra satellites located at 28.2° east (Astra
1N/2A/2B/2C/2D) and Eutelsat's Eutelsat 28A satellite at 28.5°E.
service was originally launched as Sky Digital in October 1998,
distinguishing it from the original analogue service. However, as
BSkyB's analogue service ended in October 2001, the service is now more
commonly marketed as just 'Sky'.
Sky's main competitor is Virgin TV which offers television by cable.
digital service was officially launched on 1 October 1998 under the
name Sky Digital, although small-scale tests were carried out before
then. For the first time, BSkyB used the newly-launched Astra 2A
satellite, which has since come to broadcast exclusively to the United
Kingdom and Ireland. At this time the use of the Sky brand made an
important distinction between the new service and Sky's analogue
services. Key selling points were the improvement in picture and sound
quality, increased number of channels and an interactive service branded
Open.... now called Sky Active, Sky competed with the ONdigital (later
ITV Digital) terrestrial offering.
New Astra satellites joined
the position in 2000 and 2001, and the number of channels available to
customers increased accordingly. This trend continued with the launch of
Eurobird 1 (now Eutelsat 28A) in 2001.
Originally Sky launched
with a set top box known as the Sky digibox, however, in more recent
years the Sky+ and Sky+ HD boxes have launched alongside the original
box. Sky+ is a digital video recorder with an internal hard drive which
allows viewers to 'pause live television' (by switching from a live feed
to a paused real-time recording that can be restarted at any point) and
schedule programs to record in the future. Sky launched HDTV services
in May 2006. The first photos of a prototype Sky HD receiver began
appearing in magazines in August 2005. All Sky+ HD receivers incorporate
a version of Sky+ using either a 300GB or 500GB hard drive (of which
160GB or 250GB is available to the user) to accommodate the necessary
Additionally, some channels occasionally receive new
numbering — However, in early 2006, the majority of channels received
new numbering, with some receiving single digit changes, whilst others
received new numbers entirely.
Slogans Sky have used for
marketing include "What do you want to watch?", "Entertainment your way"
and the current slogan "Believe in Better".
In early 2012,
Sky released an update to its Sky Anytime service. This update offers
customers the chance to buy and rent films from the Sky Store. In June
2012, Sky launched a new EPG for Sky+ HD boxes. The update boasts a new
modernised look and improved functionality. As of October 1, 2012, Sky
Anytime was rebranded as On Demand which would then include ITV player
and 5 Demand. BBC iPlayer will follow in late Autumn with 4oD to be
included in early 2013.