Sky Picnic


Sky Picnic

Sky Picnic is a proposed pay television service to launch from Sky. It would sit alongside Freeview and Top Up TV on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform in the United Kingdom. The service is currently the subject of a public consultation by communications regulator Ofcom. The consultation was published on October 4, 2007 with the outcome to be announced in early 2008. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007] Ofcom announced on 13 May 2008 that Sky TV's plans have been put on hold pending further scrutiny. This will most likely mean that the service, if approved, will not launch until at least 2009. Sky have currently placed the project on hold, whilst results from the consultation are awaited.

Existing Channels

Sky currently broadcasts three free-to-air services as part of Freeview on the digital terrestrial platform. These channels are Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky3 on Multiplex C (to be known as NGW A post digital switch over). The proposed service would use the capacity of these three channels. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

Proposed Channels

The submission states that Sky plans to use their space for a pay TV service which will offer a mix of basic and premium content. The channels proposed are Sky Sports 1, Sky Movies Screen 1 (formerly Sky Movies SD1), Sky1, the Disney Channel and the Discovery Channel. [http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a80383/disney-channel-joins-skys-picnic.html Disney Channel joins Sky's picnic] Digital Spy, December 23 2007] [http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a82174/discovery-joins-skys-picnic.html Discovery joins Sky's Picnic] Digital Spy, December 23 2007] Sky News content will also be aired for up to seven hours a week as part of the service. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

The first stream would be Sky Sports 1 to be broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

The second stream is proposed to be Sky Movies Screen 1 from 6 pm to early in the morning, 7 days a week. The Disney Channel would air from 6 am to 6 pm, 7 days week, beginning as early as 3 am on days where Sky Movies Screen 1 finishes early. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

The third stream would be the Discovery Channel broadcasting from 6 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week. Sky1 would air from 7 pm to 6am, 7 days a week with the 6 pm - 7 pm slot being used for used Sky News content up to 7 days of the week. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

Encryption

Sky plans to use a conditional access system supplied by NDS Group for the Picnic service. This a different conditional access technology to that used by Top Up TV which is already on the platform. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

MPEG-2 and MPEG-4

Sky have proposed to the use MPEG-2 compression format which is currently used by all other video services on the DTT platform. They have indicated to Ofcom in the consultation document that they would like to move over to the more efficient MPEG-4 format in the future, allowing for further broadcast capacity. It has been proposed that set-top boxes compatible with the Sky Picnic service must support MPEG-4 (which is not currently used on the platform) in addition to MPEG-2. This would allow Sky to implement MPEG-4 without customers needing to upgrade their set-top box. Ofcom is yet to decide on whether MPEG-4 can be used on the DTT platform, and as part of this and other consultation processes, it is determining whether this is a viable option in the future. [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Proposed BSkyB digital terrestrial television services] Ofcom, December 23 2007]

uspension

Sky have suspended the Picnic project with effect from 12th September 2008, pending the result of Ofcom's consultation into the service. Sky announced that they have completed all preparations for the service, and there is now no further work to be carried out for the launch to take place. 28 jobs are affected. A spokesperson for BSkyB commented: "We want to invest in Picnic because it will be good for consumers and a good opportunity for Sky but the blunt truth is that Ofcom has spent 18 months looking at our proposals and there is no end in sight." [cite web | title = BSkyB job losses expected as Picnic is shelved|author= Sweney, Mark|publisher =The Guardian | url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/sep/12/bskyb.television|accessdate=2008-09-18]

References

External links

* [http://www.picnicnews.com/ Sky Picnic website]
* [http://ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/dtv/condoc_dtv.pdf Ofcom Consultation document on proposal.]


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