Sky reopens HD queue

February 17, 2009 | 11:36 UK

BSkyB is exploring plans to reopen its EPG launch queue to channels broadcasting in the HD format. The satcaster has informed broadcasters using the Sky Digital platform of proposals that would see the first channels being able to directly enter the EPG since it ceased accepting applications for places in the queue since October 3, 2007.

“We are always exploring new ways to bring more choice to channels and viewers alike through platform innovation,” a Sky spokesman told Broadband TV News. “As a result of our platform investments we may be in a position to utilise the extra memory and processing capabilities of our Sky+ HD boxes to open a dedicated HD channel launch list. We need to run some more tests, but should it be technically possible, we will conduct a full consultation with broadcasters.”

The satcaster has been exploring ways to continue the launch of new services. One of the changes has been to change the method under which HD channels are displayed to owners of SD boxes. Sky is planning a software download, following which the EPG available on SD boxes will no longer display the scheduling, event and synopsis information for HD channels. Viewers will instead see only the channel name, and an upgrade message in place of programme information.

The upgrade means that the impact on the SD box memory of launching new channels will be greatly reduced. One of the problems for Sky has been that while the newer boxes have no such memory constraints, it still has to serve the remainder of its installed base.