Sky HD

Sky HD is the name given to BsykB's satellite HDTV broadcast service. The service requires a new High-Definition set-top box to decode the broadcast signal attached to an HD capable television, and a Sky HD subscription.

Channels Available

Below is a list of channels currently available (as of Jan 2009):

  • Sky1 HD
  • FXHD
  • Sky Arts HD
  • Discovery HD
  • National Geographic HD
  • The History Channel HD
  • Rush HD
  • Euro Sport HD
  • Sky Box Office HD1 & HD2
  • Sky Real Lives HD
  • The Biography Channel HD
  • Crime & Investigation Network HD
  • 4 HD
  • BBC HD
  • Luxe TV HD
  • Sky Movies HD Premiere
  • Sky Movies HD Screen 1
  • Sky Movies HD Screen 1
  • Sky Movies HD Action & Thriller
  • Sky Movies HD Drama
  • Sky Movies HD Modern Greats
  • Sky Movies HD Sky & Horror
  • Sky Movies HD Family
  • Sky Movies HD Comedy
  • Sky Cinematic HD
  • Sky Sports HD 1
  • Sky Sports HD 2
  • Sky Sports HD 3

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What does it cost?

Sky HD Box

Sky HD boxes are available from £49 including installation and set up, depending on the subscription and any existing Sky products you may already have.

Subscription to the service costs an additional £9.75 per month and there is a one time set-up fee of £30 when replacing/upgrading an existing Sky box.

The selection of the available HD channels you will receive with depend on the regular subscription package you have with Sky. To receive Sports HD you need to be a subscriber to the Sky Sports Mix package, and similarly a Sky Movies Mix subscription allows access to Sky Movies HD.

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Technical Details

Sky's HD service is broadcast using the 1080i format which can be scaled down by the decoder to 720p if desired. The output is via and HDCP complaint HDMI connection or via analogue composite. Individual broadcasters have the option to require the use of HDCP and so disable the composite output on a per channel basis, although at present this facility is currently unused.

Sky advertises 5000+ hours of high-definition programming each month, however a significant proportion of this is upscaled standard definition content, with only BBC HD, the movie and documentary channels currently broadcasting exclusively HD material.

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Sky HD Box Specifications

Video outputs: 1x HDMI, 2x SCART, 1x S-Video, 1x component (Y, Pb, Pr), 2x RF aerial (modulated)

Audio outputs: 1x digital optical, 2x analogue stereo phono

Other connections: Telephone (RJ11), RS-232 serial, 1x USB, 1x Ethernet (RJ45), 1x SATA

Storage: 300GB (160GB user storage, rest used for on demand services)

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Can I purchase a Sky HD Box from another/3rd party manufacturer?

You pretty much have to buy an official Sky HD box in order to be able to sucessfully receive their HD service, although in fairness the cost is currently only around 49, including installation and set up.

As an alternative you can pick up a second-hand Sky HD box, from eBay for example, but you will have to arrage/carry out the installation and set it up correctly yourself. Technically you will need a multiple LNB with at least 2 outputs in order to watch/record more than one channel at a time. Taking this unoffical route is more perilous, as you will need to call Sky to have them authenticate your new box and viewing card, and this assumes they are prepared to accept you're not doing anything you shouldn't. They would need to be convinced that your viewing card is not being moved between multiple decoder boxes repeatedly.

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