Looking to become Britain’s premier TV and Communications provider, Sky began its life in 1989 as British Sky Broadcasting, providing phone service, premium and standard television programming to thousands of customers in the UK.
Their initial subscription (encrypted) services were limited to Sky Movies, a premium movie channel in direct competition with ‘The Movie Channel’ offered by the British Satellite Broadcasting. Before long, the two companies merged and added the premium Sky Sports channel to their combined roster.
By 1993, Sky was now in the satellite TV business with the introduction of Sky Multichannels, a basic broadcast plan that included a number of standard channels transmitted on the original Astra satellite group. In its initial introduction, the company gained half a million subscribers in less than 4 months, with a significant percentage adding a premium channel to the basic set. While the service was criticized for its lack of new and original programming, it was enticing enough to capture more than 3 million subscribers in less than a year.
In 2016, Sky is the undisputed champion of UK television providers, with a subscriber list of over 10 million and climbing. Their digital options include HD programming, Digital Video Recording systems, land line and satellite based Internet connectivity, in house hot spot services, 3D programming and blue tooth connectivity.
Like many other satellite and cable systems, Sky divided its programming services based on content. Sky Movies is now available in 12 categories:
- Drama & Romance
- Action & Adventure
- Box Office, Comedy
- Crime & Thriller
- Sci Fi & Horror
The basic channel offerings include Sky 1 and Sky 2, Sky Arts, and Sky 3D, a channel featuring 3D programming.
For sports enthusiasts, more than 5 channels are dedicated, not including the Sky Betting and Gaming channel and Sky Sports News HQ.
Standard news channels are available, as well as specialized channels covering events in Arabia and Australia, as well as Business News.
Other popular programming options from around the world include 3 Nickelodeon children’s channels, 2 comedy channels, Lifetime, and The History Channel.
All in all, nearly 250 channels are available, nearly half of which are rebroadcast of free-to-air programming and are available without additional premium charges. More than 70 of the Sky channels are in HD.
In House Technology:
In addition to their standard programming, Sky has included a number of technology offerings to extend and enhance the viewing experience, including:
- Multi-Screen Viewing: Sky offers two ways to view programming on multiple TV screens within the same household:
- Sky Multi-Screen: This allows the user to install one or more standard control boxes that can be used to view shows on other TV sets. These boxes do not have the advanced features such as Digital Video Recording, pause or rewind, and are hard wired to the satellite dish connection.
- Sky Q: This system allows you to set up to 4 Sky Q boxes in different rooms. The boxes communicate wirelessly with the main Sky Q console and receive their programming without physical cables.
- Sky Go: A service included with the Sky package that interacts with apps on your PC, Tablet, or Phone that allows you to view Sky programming anywhere you can find an open Internet connection. It also allows you to link up to 4 mobile devices together.
- Sky Go Extra: A free service if you have Sky Q and available at a nominal fee for other users, Sky Go Extra lets you download streamed content onto a mobile device for viewing with no internet connection required.
So far, Sky TV reigns in Britain and though there are contenders to the title, they are still running in second place to this entertainment and communications powerhouse.