back to article Only Sky can save digital TV

Even at the second time of asking, digital TV has been a commercial flop. That's not surprising when taxpayer-subsidised broadcasters are given valuable spectrum. It's time Ofcom admitted this and gave Sky the chance to revitalise the market. Here's why. The UK, probably more than any other country in Europe, has a very …


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  1. Neil Hoskins

    How Much is Murdoch Paying You?

    Well, I can't really remember when I've disagreed more with a Reg comment. Let's see, you think more channels equals more diversity, and are sad that a load of crap channels that nobody watched have gone to the wall? And you want public control to be handed over to Rupert Murdoch?

  2. Adam Onesti
    Thumb Up

    Shopping channels

    I completely agree, and further more what I think they should do is get rid of those 6 god awful shopping channels and give the channels to Virgin and Sky, 3 each or something. Hopefully that then would stimulate some form of content. Would also be interesting if an American cable channel like HBO could get in on the act...

  3. Jaster


    So Sky can "save" digital TV ?

    If Sky went bust tomorrow Digital TV would go ahead without them, it does not need saving?

    If it is not commercially viable then someone has their business model very wrong, pay for a licence to broadcast, get advertisers, buy or make some programmes people actually want to watch, sounds like the same model as conventional TV to me?

  4. Iain
    Thumb Down

    Keep Murdoch's grubby hands out of it

    Personally, I'd be happy if _every_ commercial broadcaster went to the wall, as I don't watch advert-based TV unless it falls off the internet straight from the US with the ads removed.

    But that's by the by. The whole point of Freeview is that you don't need to pay a monthly sub to Murdoch. Giving up some of that pitiful quantity of spectrum to him so he can force us all to need more boxes under the TV, because he wants to use a different, incompatible standard, is a terrible idea after Ofcom -sorry- the BBC has been forced at gunpoint to waste millions (that could have been used to stop turning their factual department into a ghost-town) persuading the country to buy boxes you want to make paperweights.

  5. Madge Silver badge
    Dead Vulture


    On Satellite even in Ireland, the Sky channels have a tiny percentage of viership.

    TV has degraded as the number of channels has increased.

    ABC1 failed because there is only so many times you can watch re-runs of Home Improvement.

    There is not enough content for 20 decent channels never mind 1000.

    In other European countries there is no de facto Satellite Monopoly. Rather than strengthening Sky as a distribution platform (they produce very little content) they should be forced to be more open. Their box (which unlike cable the customers own) should be able to take other CAMs. Their CAM should be available for other boxes.

    Given the arrogant, closed proprietary nature of Sky's platform (Which is NOT a British Company and would move to Morocco or somewhere tomorrow if Ofcom did real regulation of them), BBC/ITV/C4 are perfectly correct to create Freesat.

    RTE/TG4 on the other hand has given it's content to Sky for free and Sky can charge the Irish consumer what ever they like. This is even worse when you consider the DTT trial in Ireland is window dressing and there is no real plan for DTT roll out.

    Your article reads like BskyB marketing spin. Not a balanced piece on the future of UK broadcasting.

    Not up to usual El Reg standard.

  6. john mann

    Freebie Digi-channels

    Well at least with the present set up there are occasionally some decent (even if oft-repeated) programmes on digi.

    Give it to that cnut Murdoch and it'll be wall-to-wall trash.

  7. Damien Jorgensen
    Thumb Down


    The lack of any mention of Cable and they part owned channels makes this whole article pointless.

    Virigin own and operate lots of channels which people watch, yes part owned by the BBC.

    onDigital failed becuase nobody could get it and they spent to much on sports. Nothing to do with the whole idea being crazy.

    Sky the answer? lol, do you have a column in the Times on Sunday too?

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Or alternatively...

    you could simply observe that there is sufficient money and talent in a place the size of the UK to feed four, maybe five TV channels capable of producing interesting, entertaining, educational, amusing and (yes, I know it's subjective) quality programmes.

    It's obvious; *irrespective* of how the BBC is funded, there's only so much advertising budget. When ITV got it all, trebles all round. When Channel Four came along and had a chunk of it, faces fell; now Channel Five wants its share too; ITV are not stunningly happy. I'm pretty sure that the *last* thing the indepenents want is a BBC that's advertising funded; the brand name is too strong and that's where all the money will go.

    And given that I'm already paying for every non-BBC TV programme visible in the UK that carries adverts (that'll be all of them, then, I guess?) the concept of paying for something twice rather annoys me.

    Besides, Murdoch's got enough media channels and far too much money. He's not having any more of mine if I have anything to do with it.


  9. George Tomkins

    Thanks from Rupert

    ...and it looks like a free 10-year sky subscription is coming someone'e way, well done that pommy! Lack of diversity and PBS are 2 completely unrelated issues. The demise of television choice was brought about entirely by the graduation of the first Media graduates, losers taught to be losers by losers, none of them with an ounce of imagination. Reality, people, progs are just glorified home movies. Stop watching them, otherwise theyll never stop doing them

  10. Ian

    DTT=Analog channels in public perception???

    You say that 'the public' still associates DTT with the analog BBC, ITV Channel 4 and Five channels. Where do you get the data for that statement? Surely the public associates freeview with a few extra channels not available on analog and they associate Sky/Virgin with paying for even more channels (plus possibly other services like phone/internet)? It's pretty simple really.

    You suggest Sky is the saviour of DTT. Well, maybe, maybe not. Personally I see no problem with a PBS-based DTT service broadcast on government allocated spectrum paid for mainly by the TV licence/tax. If pay-TV channels (whether Sky, Virgin or whoever else may wish to enter the UK market) are allowed to consume valuable DTT spectrum while there is still a TV licence/tax system in place, there should be strict limits imposed e.g. no more than 25% of channels should be pay-TV.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    If Sky had any talent at programme making then why have they been keeping it such a secret? TV in the UK is the envy of the world and I notice down here in Aus the UK imports are almost exclusively from the BBC and C4. Even the Dirty Digger's own compatriots won't touch Sky shows with a ten foot bargepole.

    It's time to bring on the next clueless blogger posing as a real journalist.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sky is ok but come on.

    Sky will in no way save anything. Once the competition is gone they will go to a premium model and you will pay by series.

  13. druck Silver badge

    No HD on Freeview

    I'm still on analogue, receiving 4 and a half channels (1 to 4 in perfect digital artefact free analogue, and slightly fuzzy 5) and not even watching all of those, there is mould growing on button 3 of my remote. The only real reason for me to switch to digital is if they offered HD content, but with the government committed to selling off the necessary spectrum for a quick buck, and Sky looking to buy it to prevent that happening, it doesn't look like we will ever get free to air HD content.

  14. James Thomas

    Please god no...

    Why on earth would you want to let Sky dominate British television? And make no mistake that IS what they would do given half the chance (like a relaxation of the competition legislation). They produce almost very little new content, and what they do show seems to be on perminant loop.

    What actually needs to happen is that the existing PSBs need to be told to start producing sensible TV again, and having to compete with services like Sky actually decreases the amount of intelligent content they can show. Channel 4 is the worst offender in this regard having gone from having the best content on TV 10 years ago to being just-another-lowest-common-denominator ITV now.

    The PBSs are the only reason we still have good home-made content in this country and you'll have to pry them from my cold dead hands.

  15. stu
    Thumb Up

    oh dear. where is my minature violin ?

    digital TV may become all PSB channels...

    And that is bad why ?

    I'll take BBC2+23 over sky crap any day of the week and would gladly pay twice my tv licence for more of the same rather than a subscription channel that has more adverts on it that a PSB commercial station....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    misleading figures in the article

    "The public still associates the digital TV platform (DTT) with these old analog channels - even though 85 per cent of the population views them via digital." - Really?

    Most people are still using their analogue sets, even with digital tuner boxes most people will use the conventional channels selectors on "2nd TVs" until they are forced to run 2 remotes for every TV. The figures given out by regulators about digital penetration always ignore 2nd(+) sets and related issues and will still result in lots of sets being dumped at switchover, and a small boom for Currys/DSG etc

    Much of the country doesnt get digital over the air yet (and Sky/Cable penetration isn' that great), at least not officially according to the providers, and certainly not in bad weather.

    Side question: If I pick up a signal intended for another region, as ours isnt yet enabled, am I violating the bit in the Wireless Telegraphy Act about intentionally listening to transmissions not intended for me?

  17. Daniel Ebeck
    Thumb Down

    More to do

    I have a digital TV (I splashed out on a nice HD one this year) and I do receive DTV broadcasts. But the signal is so shoddy that I usually watch on analogue, just because it's acceptable. I know my parents are in the same position in an different part of the country. OK, I may need a new aerial, but there are still hurdles besides rufuseniks before DSO.

  18. teacake

    Absolute rubbish

    The last thing we need is Sky throwing their weight around on the DTT spectrum.

    Increased choice doesn't mean better quality (there's a very good Fry & Laurie sketch that sums it up - waiter replaces a diner's silver service cutlery with a carrier bag full of plastic coffee stirrers, saying "They may all be crap, but at least you've got the choice, and that's what's important, isn't it?"). Increased choice simply means more opportunities to re-air the same dross more times a day, and liberally besmear it with logos and trailers for other dross in case we've got attention deficit disorder or have somehow forgotten the channel we're watching.

    Ban any subscription content on terrestrial digital. If anyone feels the urge to pay Murdoch for additional channels, get a Sky dish.

  19. Mark

    I'm with the BBC on this one

    You have to wonder whether the author of this article is getting a backhander from Sky, given comments about their service being "fairly priced" - 100 odd quid a year seems fair for what PSB offers. The arguments against PSB always seem to come down to so-called "fairness", presumably for businesses, as it hardly seems "fair" that consumers might be pushed into paying Sky for their generally dreadful, dead from the neck up content. And then there's that use of "diversity", as if having lots of different crap to choose from made it any less brown, steaming and unappealing.

    The free marketeers always seem desperate to portray the likes of Sky as saviours desperate to save us from ourselves if only they weren't held back by those dastardly rules, when the reality of their hatred of PSBs stems more from their inability to compete in any way on quality grounds - strangle the BBC and even Sky might shine.

    If the authors wishes come to pass, I think I'll probably kick the TV habit for good.

  20. Smell My Finger
    Thumb Down

    Absolute nonsense

    Firstly if "Only Sky can save digital TV’" then it wasn't worth saving in the first place. The entire premise of digital telly is flawed; we're obliterating the analogue signal so we can pump out more digital channels despite the fact there is not enough content for the existing ones or enough money to go round to fill them all. Any scan of the TV schedule reveals that the digital channels, whether commercial or public, don't have enough programmes to show.

    Sky telly has, by any measure been a complete failure. The number of viewers it gets are tiny and the only reason it's viable as a business is due to eye-watering subscription rates. That, and the fact it runs a near monopoly on the content it does provide. Sky pays obscene amounts of money for content it then absolutely monopolises and then just turns the screw on its subscribers to pay for it. Do you really think American tat like "Lost" is really worth $1 million an episode?

    The problem is we've lost sight of what TV should be there for, to entertain, educate and inform. It should not be there to fleece the public on phone quizzes, spawn endless derivative formats, saturate us with repeats and low quality formats and handover a huge monopoly to Sky where viewers access to material is gated simply by means of how much they're willing to pay. We have endlessly deregulated and marketised television and the results have been disastrous; TV viewers and programmes have been hopelessly atomised and divided, quality is rock bottom and the biggest loser has been the viewer. People have voted with their wallets and that for most people TV isn't worth much more than their yearly license fee. To destroy the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 group of companies hand it over to a vulture like Rupert Murdoch is beyond stupid.

  21. William Bronze badge
    Thumb Down


    Sounds to me like you work for Murdoch. The reason most people watch the 5 channels is the amount of rubbish on the other channels.

    Unless you can provide the names of some "quality" programmes...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    If Sky is the only company that can save digital TV then we are in big trouble. Sky TV's original content is basically drivel and if they were allowed to dominate any more than they already do then standards would be driven down even more. One can look to the newspaper market where the Murdoch effect has turned The Times into a up-market Sky-promoting version of The Sun.

    The key point that the author misses is that broadcasting has a social purpose and if the action of free markets does not serve that purpose, then we can all choose to arrange matters in a different way: its called democracy.

  23. A. Lewis
    Paris Hilton


    PSBs, DSO, DTT... I thought IT had enough TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms).

    Also, this is about TV.. Where's the Paris angle?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh good lets hand control of television to Uncle Rupert.

    I think most of us agree that TV gets worse by the year, but handing it over to Sky, come on. It's also interesting to note that our independent commentator on the industry didn't note how much of Sky's output is actually from News International companies. If Sky and Virgin invested a bit more in UK & Non-US base drama and comedy, maybe I'd change my mind a bit, but I really don't fancy all my television from Jerry Bruckhiemer. Does his company produce more drama than the BBC and ITV combined?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only bloggs

    allow inane drivel to escape the dear editor pages

  26. Andrew Heenan
    Thumb Down

    And What About The Consumer ...

    You bleat about Poor Little Sky being squeezed by the ground based services (not all of which are public service, BTW) ... and your solution?

    Give Sky a monopoly.

    Don't you think consumers have a right to resist when they are being steamrollered into signing up for a service with dubious benefit?

    Trust me, you don't need digital TV to follow Corrie, or the news, or even Lazytown.

    And there's zero on Sky to send us running to pay their extortionate fees.

    But as a Sky fan, I suppose the consumer view never entered your head?

  27. JamesH

    You what???

    Got to agree with Neil on this one - what a load of rubbish that article was. I'd rather eat my own scrotum than pay that a**ehole Murdoch any money.

  28. Robert Long

    Well, that was a load of crap

    It's always worth remembering that SKY gets a huge subsidy from taxpayers too in the form of dodging their tax payments. The rest of us have to pick up the bill, so SKY can go jump as far as I'm concerned.

    Their service and programmes suck and I see no reason to believe that they can save digital TV any more than Murdoch has saved quality journalism.

  29. Andrew Moore

    Dear god no...

    Have you seen the content that Sky generates. It's terrible lowest common denominator crap. And Sky One seems to be becoming a 24 hour Simpsons channel.

  30. James
    Dead Vulture

    Yes, let's talk about public funding of broadcasters

    Funny that NI sources love to criticise the TV Licence when they're effectively also state-subsidised by their numerous tax dodges.

    Let's also talk about Freeview's 'failure'. According to Ofcom figures 21.4 million homes have digital TV, of which 8.1 million are paid Sky subscribers. 12.9 million are using Freeview. This is an interesting situation if a 'failing' service has nearly 5 million more than the 'saviour'. Especially as Freeview added 1.9 million new users in the second quarter of 2007 (up 700,000 year-on year), while Sky managed a paltry 77,000. An increase in growth nearly ten times greater than Sky's ENTIRE growth in the same period? My, how Freeview could learn from the digger's genius!

    But don't take my word for it:

    Not that this post really needs any more commentary to be revealed as the NI shill it is, but it's interesting that you seem to think finances are the only measure of whether or not a broadcaster is successful, rather than reach or hours. The brilliance of PSB in the UK is that it encourages broadcasters to cater for markets that otherwise would be not bring a return on effort, which in a Murdoch-shaped world would be replaced by a million channels of cheap music videos funded by ads for scam SMS lines and a load of bought-in Fox pap. If that's salvation then I'm Francis Urquhart.

  31. Andy Pellew
    Thumb Down

    What a waste of a good point ...

    Your excellent point on the "wasting" of Freeview spectrum by companies like Channel 4 and ITV broadcasting "+1" services and the inequalities of companies like the BBC and Channel 4 just being "gifted" spectrum is completely wasted in an article the sole point of which seems to be praising Sky (with a few breaks from the Sky-love for BBC/Channel 4-kicking)?!

    What a waste!

  32. Peter
    Thumb Down

    Have you gone Bonkers?

    I normally expect to see a bit of sharp, cynical and amusing commentary on the Reg, not NewsCorp Press releases!

    I was tempted to do a blow-by-blow deconstruction of this piece, but then I thought "Why bother?"

    Anybody stupid enough to write or publish such nonsense clearly lacks the intellectual equipment to understand a rational argument.

    If you want to know why handing SKY DTT is such a bad idea, just look at the SUN (or Times) then switch on SKY TV. 'Nuff said.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree with the first poster.

    The commercial carriers have never provided a good model for diversity.

    I used to have Telewest. The basic package offered the PSB channels plus Sky One, ABC, Bravo and various other "general" channels. At times I had a choice of: series 3 of Buffy, series 1 of Buffy, series 6 of Buffy, series 4 of Charmed or series 2 of Charmed.

    To get any diversity, I needed to go up a package. But that just gave me more films and more sport.

    If I wanted anything special (eg French language), I had to get the full package. Sky was always the same. To get any decent channels, you first have to buy every single one of their channels, even if you don't want them.

    So Sky/Virgin wins twice. They get the carrier's share and a broadcaster's share.

    Let's not replace a triopoly with a monopoly.

  34. Gareth Potter

    What dross is this...?

    Shame. You had a couple of good points (e.g. the +1 channels _are_ a complete waste of spectrum), but ruin it all with shilling for Sky and apparent confusion over what ITV is - you say it is a PSB channel but then acknowledge it is funded entirely by advertising. ITV demonstrates that ad-funded telly _can_ work, so it blows apart your argument entirely, but don't let that stop you...

    I'm not sure whether this is as bad as or worse than the Cade Metz troll The Reg rolls out for Apple articles. Perhaps it is the same person...!?

  35. AndyB
    Thumb Down

    Since when...

    has The Register employed obvious trolls to write its articles?

    This was such obvious flame-bait that it doesn't even deserve a considered response!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC and Lonely Planet

    Agree with the majority of the people here - that was pure Sky-spin.

    It's worth pointing out that Lonely Planet was bought by BBC Worldwide, the commercial part of the BBC and not with licence payers' money.

    It'd be nice to see where all Sky's revenues go. Precious little into programming I suspect; unless that perennial Sky One staple 'Ross Kemp on Gangs' is a lot more expensive than it looks.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck tv

    Read a book.

  38. Chris Hamilton
    Thumb Down

    Has the author renewed his Sky contract?

    That is the biggest pile of tosh I have read on El Reg for a long time.

    Yes, handing ever more control of our limited terrestrial spectrum to Uncle Rupert sounds liek a marvellous idea, and I am sure that he will open it to healthy competition, as he is known for his love of "the little guy".

    And why is having a free public service satellite broadcaster a bad idea?? Freesat from Sky is sh*t. If you like shopping channels and dodgy religious broadcasts then its the place for you. The BBC Freesat model is designed to give people that dont have access to Freeview all the same benefits, it also introduces a little thing called competition. Just to remind our friend from Oz, that the UK is not his personal fiefdom.

  39. B Johnson
    Thumb Down

    Abysmal article

    flawed logic. Sounds like astroturf.

    I am very disappointed in the quality of this article and am surprised it was vetted by the editor and included in The Register.

  40. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    Lets see shall we

    Up until maybe 5 years ago, the content of SKY was pretty good but now the terrestrial channels are stealing all of the decent programs and Sky has what? The Simpsons, Stargate Atlantis and A Town Called Eureka, it's hardly likely to make you want to sign up, even Virgin 1 and FX are getting more quality programs than Sky. In summary, what a biased load of crap.

  41. bobbles31
    Dead Vulture

    Utter Tripe

    There is a simple formula that sums up the reason why we have complete rubbish on the TV.


    Quality = ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NumChannels * NumControlledOwnedByMurdoch^2

  42. Stu
    Dead Vulture

    Total tosh.

    I'm really beginning to see the value in these comment pages, I wholeheartedly agree with everybody who lashed back at this total shit.

    It basically completely failed to see the human angle of Television and treated the whole thing blindly as a moneymaking business venture.

    FACT - The quality of programming produced by the BBC and C4 (perhaps not ITV) is regarded by the majority as being vastly superior to the content that BSkyB and the others put out which is mostly US originated, Discovery and National Geo included.

    FACT - Nearly all content displayed day in and day out on the vast majority of satellite entertainment and docs channels has already been shown at least twice before, and was low quality to begin with. Thats why I dont pay Sky more cash for a Sky Plus box - whats the point when all you really need is a good scheduling guide to catch the repeat.

    Even Channel5 looks fantastic put next to the likes of Sky One or abc1. Lets not forget abc1 went down the pan because Sky dont actively like competition, so didn't put it anywhere near ch106. The same thing is happening now with the new Virgin1 channel. But abc1 was painful to watch with their US advertising scheduling and crap content.

    I have a Sky sub, I regularly get to see the tosh that they put out, so why is it I spend most of my watching time on BBC and C4 thru my sky box? Theres only a few reasons why I turn to satellite provided channels, and only for a select bunch of programmes on the docs channels.

    And what is the value of dumping on the BBC for your own purposes by saying that their internet TV service failed, it may very well have, but I think its in the worst taste to rubbish the BBC just to help your argument given that their TV and normal web provisions are fantastic quality. Not that it helped your argument any.

    Go back to your opinionated blogging where I don't get exposed to it.

  43. James Anderson

    Show Keith the door...

    Althought its fun to see so many El Reg commentators in complete agreement for the first time the basic article was just so plain dumb it beggars beleif.

    Has El Reg been take over by the Murdzilla? Is this some desparate spin by the BBC gone horribly wrong.

    Come on El Reg sack Kieth get back to what you do best failing IT projects and hiereses failing to keep thier clothes on.

  44. Matt Black

    Most PSB output is shite...

    Most PSB output is shite... but SO much better than the commercial channels.

    Roll back to BBC1, BBC2 and the 3rd channel I say.

    I have spent £thousands on gadgets to show / hear this rubbish - more fool me - and would cheerfully just have radios 3 & 4 - even tho' they have dumbed down in a disgusting fashion. Bah Humbug.

  45. Phil Arundell
    Thumb Down

    Clearly biased reporter

    Previous "articles" by this "reporter" are the following:

    Virgin: stop whinging and deal with the debt

    Virgin: Take the money and run, Beardie

    BT: we need fibre, not share buybacks

    The first two of these clearly demonstrate a lack of objectivity and a definite bias towards Sky. Isn't about time El Reg introduced ignore lists for their users to use against reporters such as this??

  46. Chika

    Digital TV? It isn't the distribution that is a problem...

    I have a Sky box. I only watch it sporadically. Why?

    Well, let's start with the content. Yes, there is some good TV on some of the channels besides the analogue suppliers. Trouble is that it is often old output from the same analogue suppliers, or has been shown there already, and it is repeated to death.

    Even where there is stuff I want to watch, it is heavily cut with adverts. Not just with traditional ad breaks, but with sponsorships, digital overlays and overdubs. I want to watch television, but they seem to be more interested in telling me what is coming up later in the day than actually showing what I want to watch now. All digital services are provided with EPG, so I can find this sort of info out at the touch of a button, so why do I need to be told again and again, between programmes, during breaks, even over the shows themselves?

    And yes, I know what the "red" button looks like, so why keep telling me to press it for things I don't really want anyway? If I want an interactive experience, I can switch my computers on!

    These are all problems I have with digital TV. Problems I never had on analogue. Maybe that's why people prefer not to switch?

  47. Michael Habel
    Thumb Up

    Ok I don't live in Blighty

    But, I do receive both the BBC and iTV over Eurobird and Astra 2 (@28.2E).

    As an European Citizen (living in Germany), I think you shold be greatfull to have the BBC and iTV. Over here it's just ARD and ZDF and a bunch of crappy regional Three Channels that perhaps you nan might watch @ tee time.

    ...Then again probably not!

    Do I believe that the TV Tax (read: License) system sucks?! HELL YES I DO!!

    For further proof of this let's cast our Eye's west-bound. Like we've been doing for years!

    It's time for these PBS's (or is that PSB's), to go the way of the dodo, if it's at the cost of a Dr. Who, well that's a price worth paying. I suppose.

    You can sit here and argue all day long about the evils of Commercial TV, but the funny thing is, it has a way of weeding out the useless Crap and bring us Programing we'd might ~actually~ want to watch!

    But so long as we as Europeans keep casting our Eyes ever west-ward and continue to purchase there Crap (as opposed to say making our own content), on a level to actually compete with that junk, how is anything going to change?!

  48. Dennis O'Neill
    Thumb Down

    Licence fee v Sky subs

    Yes, you get so many more channels for your Sky subscriptions than you do for your licence fee, BUT a licence fee is currently £135 for an entire year, which gives you access to around 40-odd Freeview channels. Sky gives you more channels, but at what cost? Even its most basic package of £15 a month is still £45 MORE than the licence fee, and all your money goes to that champion of free speech and unadulterated editing, The Dirty Digger. And if you want to see everything The Digger offers, it's almost £500 a year, which is more than 300% more expensive.

    And as so many others have pointed out, the Digger gets us to subsidise his operations by refusing to pay any tax at all. His shares prospectus actually boasts about the company's ability to avoid tax! Do you really want to support a company like that?

  49. Anonymous Coward


    It's not April 1st today is it?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Britannia rules the airwaves!

    If you've been to mainland Europe you'll see that their commercial TV and PSBs are awful, they're absolutely filled with US TV - not because people want to see it all but because the shows are cheaper!

    The TV system here with a publicly funded BBC, ITV/4/5 having PSB mandates and then a whole world of digital channels outside of them is the best way, we've get the best of all worlds ...

    I also disagree ITV/4/5 are even really PSBs, they have some requirements to do public service broadcasting but for the most part, they are commercial.

    E4, etc, are commercial TV stations in their own right.

    I prefer not to talk about five or Sky as they're foreign owned, they shouldn't be allowed to broadcast in this country ... five is owned by a German company who helped Nazis and well Rupert Murdoch ...

  51. Andy Enderby
    Thumb Down

    ....well it is comment after all....

    ....But is demonstrably wrong on so many levels. Clearly in the pay of the digger, and clearly talking out of his arse.

    As for digital terrestrial broadcasts..... I realise that those living south of Watford a likely to consider Birmingham to be the end of the universe, however I feel that before analogue is finally shuffled off, it might be nice if we could please extend a signal of viewable quality over the city...... Come to think of it, the same could be said of the whole damn country.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Couldn't disagree more

    All of Sky's content is crap.

    There's a reason people tend to watch the major 5 (or spinoffs of these 5)... can you guess what it is?

  53. Paul
    Thumb Down

    Sauce for the goose?

    Is it my imagination or has El Reg run a number of articles expressing the viewpoint that a tax/licence/hypothecated tax model might solve the problem of monetizing the digital music download market to the benefit of the artists, labels AND consumers? If that is right (and personally I believe the idea has merit) why would it not apply to the visual broadcasting media as well? I know that this is a way of saying, with longer words "I would gladly pay the licence fee twice over....blah blah blah" but, actually, having lived in France, USA, Ireland and Germany I think that the current UK model has some significant advantages and we would junk it at our peril. Of course there are some negatives to the taxation model, but show me a model that has no drawbacks and I'll show you some poor analysis, optimistic assumptions and faulty premises.

    Oh, and another thing: I am afraid this is a prime example of a situation where "public opinion" is being confused with "what the newspapers are saying" (cf. pretty much every moral panic of the last 30 years) and, since the newspapers are not exactly disinterested here (Prop. R Murdoch) then this is a danger we need to be very aware of.

  54. Alan Parsons

    Not the money but the data..

    Although I would object to giving Murdock any money whatsoever, I would object even more strongly to having his box plugged into my phone line collecting info on what times of day I'm likely to be at home, what my interests are, whether I watch ads or channel hop etc etc etc... Information is worth more money than .. er .. money these days methinks. I have friends who were hounded and persecuted by sky intermittently for weeks for 'unplugging' the phone line, when it actually turned out to be a fault somewhere at the other end..

    Besides all that, I don't seem to be able to pick up digital TV at all in my corner of Bournemouth.. Not that I really watch TV - when they get round to turning off analogue I guess the only real impact for me is that I might not have to endure my wife's obsession with watching sh!t like Hollyoaks... Quelle domage!

  55. Geoff Spick


    The article ignores one major issue... the viewing public don't care where their TV comes from. The majority of people think that the BBC is the only Public Service Broadcaster, and treat everything else as extra...

    When you upgrade from 5 channel analogue to 40+ channel digital the extra choice makes you feel like you've moved up in the world and without having to fork out monthly for Sky/Virgin that is a big difference to most folk's lives.

  56. James
    Thumb Down

    I really shouldn't be commenting again on this troll

    But let's remember the real reason ONDigital went under - because they massively overpaid for the TV rights to lower-league football matches in a desperate attempt to break the monopoly on Football broadcasting held by, er, Sky.

  57. Danny

    Sky-loving Shill Alert!

    Who's been suckling on Murdoch's oily teat then? Normally I'm not one to attack a person for their misguided views but such a brazen and offensive DTT hit piece could not go unremarked.

    Analogue vs digital? Do you think anyone other than us geeks know or care about the underlying technology? Your fixating on the tech. To non-geeks it's just a TV channel. Nothing else.

    Sky subscribers are a sad bunch of sheep. they get shafted paying an outrageous subscription for trash channels and are still inflicted with adverts! Rupert Murdoch is laughing in your faces.

    Handing the TV monopoly to megalomanic Murdoch? I guess you get your OS from Microsoft too? If we allow such a monopoly all we will end up with is shit on every channel targeted at the lowest common denominator (see Sky).

    I take it you must be a marketeers dreamboy. You eat at McDs, holiday at Disneyland, watch Sky and buy your jewellery from QVC (I'd say watch The Peter Serafinowicz Show but we know how much you hate the BBC).

    I'd happily pay the TV licence just to fund the BBC and Channel 4. They are the only ones with (mostly) excellent and interesting programming. And I'll never give RM even a single penny. Ever.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Check out this guys other articles

    Out of 4 "articles" this bloke has written, 2 are moaning about Virgin. Bus as many people have said, he is probably paid by Sky

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Neil Hoskins, @James Anderson

    Both spot on....

    Never have so many comments been in such agreement about so poor an article.

  60. Ray Bellis
    Thumb Down

    Fine by me

    So long as we don't have to buy Sky's proprietary hardware to receive it.

  61. Anthony Sanford
    Thumb Down

    He cant be watching the same SKY as I watch

    There are two points I'd like to make.

    Sky is already a Monopoly for satellite TV, and what do we get for this? Over priced Drivel.

    Oh yes they do manages to buy some nice series, but mostly its repeats or drivel.

    And now somebody want to hand over terrestrial TV to sky, would just create a bigger monopoly than Sky already is, and do you realy believe we would get better programming for this, I think not.

  62. Len Goddard
    Thumb Down

    Let the BBC have it

    I'd be quite happy to hand DTT to the BBC. 90% of what is worth watching comes out of their stable anyway.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Lame article

    Wow, I've seen some rubbish written in my time, but this "article" is assuming unprecedented levels of naivety and stupidity in the reader

    There are plenty of areas in this country where DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television - i.e. FreeView) has a very poor signal (or is not actually available at all).

    In my area, which is a large town with a population well into 6 figures (in excess of 110,000 people) DTT will not be available in any form until 2012. So, round here if we want to watch Channel 4 digitally, then we have to PAY Murdoch for the privilege (by being forced to buy FreesatFrom Sky equipment and then purchasing a Sky FTV card).

    Even once a user has done that, they STILL don't get access to E4, E4+1 or More 4 (all of which are freely available on standard DTT) without upgrading from FTV and taking out a full monthly SKY subscription. How on earth can this be justified? (regardless of whatever "deal" C4 made with Sky several years ago).

    I don't see why I should have to pay a penny to Murdoch to watch channels that are freely available elsewhere in the country, just because someone can't be arsed to switch on DTT in this area (particularly seeing as Channel 4 receives a certain amount of public funding). So we pay our TV licence, we pay towards Channel 4 programming and then are told that we can't watch the channel unless we also pay Sky.

    If the lack of DTT is down to "inteference" problems, then that is surely all the more reason to legally compel Sky to provide standard channels (like those available on DTT) for free, so that a proper FreeSat alternative is available. It's not like we are talking about MTV, Sky Sports or a Movie Channels (all of which Sky has an absolute right to demand a subscription for).

    At the very least, Sky should be forced to licence their NDS encryption so that you are not forced to buy sky equipment just to be able to access standard national TV channels. At the moment it's somewhat like being told that you can't listen to Classic FM unless you buy a Sony branded hi-fi.

    It will be another 5 years before I can watch digital tv in the way that other people in this county have been doing since the 1990's. Needless to say, this 14 year delay has not been reflected at all in the amount of licence fee that we pay.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I feel dirty!

    I have Sky in my home....and I feel dirty......The effluent disguised as "content" stands out. I shell out for this in addition to the license fee (Which I'm happy to do) and for what....drivel!

    I hope that one day I can regain some self respect and hold my head up high...ditch the sky+....

    I only wanted it for the HD...the man in John Lewis said so!

  65. Stephen Clifford

    Just to pick more holes in a frankly stupid article anyway...

    1) To include the UKTV channels as PSB ones because they're part owned by BBC Worldwide (the commercial and entirely seperately funded and independently run bit of the BBC) is wrong. These are not PSB channels and they wouldn't be on the platform if there wasn't a commerical reason for them.

    2) Get rid of the shopping channels and give 3 to Sky and 3 to Virgin? You might want to check who owns those shopping channels. Oh look, the owners of BidTV and Pricedrop TV, that'll be Virgin then. Again, if these channels were not making money for Virgin, they would be taken off and replaced with something else. But the fact is that although they're not everyone's cup of tea, they're obviously making enough money for there owners or else they'd have left by now.

    3) If Sky was to be the saviour of DTT, Sky Three would be the best channel on there. It's not.

    4) Oh, and lookout for 'Dave' - joining Freeview next week.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Interesting article on Broadcasting, but nothing on content production..

    I have to confess an interest in Commercial television, but my view is not strictly inline with traditional commercial providers.

    I find the article interesting - but flawed. What is fails totally to account for is the source of content. I also find its categorising of UK TV / Virgin as PSB without merit.

    Sky is certainly the most successful PayTV network - but it actually is responsible for little to almost none of the content it runs. Aside from its distribution of SKY One - a channel running mainly Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle, (both imports), its main viewed channels regularly run new or repeat programming from PSB commisioned material.

    If we spent time looking at the quality of a Channel Four production, the complexity of a BBC programme or the 'tabloid' daytime ITV content, its easy to see that with a reduction in funding of PSBs there would be a significant reduction of content to run on these various PayTV or Free TV platforms.

    At the same time, I do not carry the view that commercial interest in tv platforms should be removed - I believe that we need to keep an eye on the large monopolies that operate and ensure they are kept fair. We need to consider who the real providers of TV are - and I think people would agree it goes much further than just providing a platform to distribute the content on.

    TopupTV is a great idea because it provides enough content to keep many families happy, but I feel it is over priced. Virgin Media is a great new rival to the biggest Pay TV monopoly and should be encouraged just as much as any other commercial Pay TV platform.

    I wouldnt feel happy about satellite or cable platform providers dealing in the fragile DTT system - purely based around a state set standard of quality and programming genre.

    ABC1 Adults are not the only occupants of the UK - in other words, the UK has encouraged the production of some amazing content - and it would be devistating to see endless repeats and the milking to death of content only of interest to the biggest shoppers.

  67. Andy
    Dead Vulture

    What a torrent of crap

    There is so much wrong with this article I am at a loss for where to begin, so I won't. Other comments have amply dissected this steaming pile of journalistic poo.

    Rather, the question is: why is this on The Reg? And when did The Reg start publishing tripe from witless bloggers as serious articles?

    If you were Private Eye, I would be canceling my subscription.

  68. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


    I agree with almost everything said about Sky and will not defend their anti-competitive practices, but I still value having access to the channels that Sky carries. I am a Sky HD subscriber, but in general I do not watch any of the Sky branded channels.

    I value it for some of the niche channels. I enjoy watching Anime (no... not that sort) and can only find that content on channels like Propeller and AnimeTV. I also watch the HD content from the BBC and channels like Discovery (but not Sky HD), which is breathtaking. I think that many of the readers could also broaden their minds by watching some of the non-english channels (and this actually should include Al Jazeera), to get some non-western perspective on the world. Without Sky as a delivery vehicle, I would not get this.

    But then again, the Sky produced content is (with the exception maybe of "The Hogfather") rubbish.

    P.S. What are these ideograms at the bottom of the comment box supposed to represent?

  69. Christian Berger

    Encrypted terrestrial television?

    You guys are actually thinking about encrypted terrestrial television? How pervert can you get.

    It's bad enought that much of the satellite transponders is occupied by signals which, to most recipients, is just noise, terrestrial bandwidth is a rather limited resource.

    There is so much more you could do with the terrestrial bandwidth. Encrypted broadcast just wastes it in order to achieve some profit for a few people.

  70. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    What the (*&*^&^ ?

    The main reason commercial on DTT has failed is this : people don't want to spend a lot for only one or two channels (plus a load of dross) AND they don't want to have to use special equipment to do it. OnDigital failed because in the early days they tried to charge too much too soon - the boxes were overpriced for the service. TopUp TV failed because they didn't give enough for the money - IIRC there was ONE channel I might have been interested in, but not £10/TV interested !

    All this while there were still major coverage issues - and no I'm not saying that the remaining coverage issues are not important to those that are affected by them.

    Of course, not there are loads of digi-boxes and integrated TVs that don't have a card slot - so paid-for TV is not likely to take off now ! My parents wouldn't consider giving up their twin-tuner hard disk based PVR for some grotty single tuner non-recording box now. I'm not planning on giving up my computer/network system either !

    Where Sky wins is by controlling the WHOLE system - they can afford to virtually give away the boxes because they know they can make it back on the subscriptions. And of course, because they don't have any effective competition then they can get away with inflicting their crippleware filled boxes on idi^H^H^Hcustomers ! I have a mate with Sky, and he used to use it a fair bit - now they've got a digital TV, I've noticed he hardly uses the Sky at all. In reality, there are only one or two channels that most people are actually bothered about - I might consider paying for a bundle that included some of the Discovery channels for example, but I wouldn't pay Sky bundle rates for just one or two channels that I might watch sometimes (you can't watch them for long before you get bored of the repeats !).

  71. unsung rob

    Poor Show El Reg

    Yes the article is biased crap. My question is why is it on the Reg? It tarnishes their reputation. Please fire this astroturf blogger and sort it out.

  72. GettinSadda
    Dead Vulture

    Good grief Penfold!

    What an unmitigated load of tripe!

    I do have Sky because there are a _few_ programs worth seeing. It's a bit like wanting hazel nuts but no shop selling them on their own, so buying muesli and throwing away everything but the nuts. Sad, but how else do I get to see those few programs without resorting to illegal downloads!

    Give Murdoch DTT? Can't think of a better way to force me to ditch the TV (and probably turn to PirateBay or wherever it is you get your fix without a TV!)

  73. John Winters
    Thumb Down

    You must be joking!

    Seldom if ever have I read such drivel on The Register. Who on earth approved that bilge for publication?

  74. paul

    Yep - what worked for the newspapers

    is bound to work for the telly.

    I revel in the vast choice of well informed, lucid, and balanced newspaper articles available to me everyday. Not the celebrity pap, human interest drivel and middle bollocks you'd expect to see from a populist lowest-common-denominator-driven model of information provision.

    Actually, stop the press, I may have got that wrong!

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    None of which addresses the fact that...

    ...people are sticking with PSBs because the content is regulated and the content to advertising ratio is controlled.

    Constant ad breaks + no content regulation = shite TV = Sky.

    "It's time Ofcom admitted this and gave Sky the chance to revitalise the market."

    My TV is not marketplace and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.

    Happy license-payer

  76. Paul

    ill-informed bull

    There's so much rubbish in this article I don't know where to start. Here's a couple of things -

    >>I am also including the jointly owned BBC and Virgin Media channels, UKTV History and Bright Ideas in the PSB source.<<

    Why? joint ownership by BBC Worldwide (that's the self-funded commercial arm) of commercially funded channels (ever spotted the ad breaks? there's enough of em...) does not equal PSB. Channel 4 gets public money. UKTV does not.

    >>Basically, refarming of any spectrum is difficult - even playing with power levels and mast position will not give the same coverage as before<<

    Under what basis do you make this claim? Remember, this is switch OVER, not switch OFF. The current infrastructure will be renewed and upgraded to provide a digital signal. There is no reason why anyone who could get a 90% perfect analogue picture will not be able to get 90% digital signal - with the added bonus that a 90% digital signal gives them 100% quality. Folks already watching fuzzy analogue signals may be in trouble, agreed, but channel 5 aside, how much of the population is that?

    >>TopUpTV requires a different kind of set top box which is not compatible with the main Free To Air boxes<<

    Well duh, if you're going to charge for a service you can't really do it with FTA boxes can you! What about SKY and their ridiculous plan to introduce yet another type of set top box incompatible with the main TUTV boxes? Now that's the kind of strategy that's 'fatally flawed'. Unless of course, you're trying to spread FUD to get people to sign up for your own hideously overpriced platform...

    Ultimately you appear to be a religious free market ideologist who can't stand the reality - that the BBC and Channel 4 can produce much better TV than the true commercial sector has ever been able to, despite the millions of pounds the moguls throw at it. Of course the Murdochs of this world would like nothing more than to see the end of PSB - then the public would have no choice but to watch their tacky dross and cheap foreign imports - and their ad revenue will multiply.

    In your eyes the BBC (and Channel 4) are 'unfair' competition because they produce a far superior product for the consumer!

  77. Andrew Smith

    Sky has no committment to freeview

    If Sky wanted to dominate freeview now they could. They have enough content (The Simpsons, Lost) they have the sports rights (Premier League, International cricket), hell they even have a already established news bureau. But they refuse to offer most of this free to air and in the very near future will be pulling the plug on their free to air channels completely and replacing them with a paid option. It's a leapt of faith suggest that they would do anything other than co-opt any newly aquired freeview space to be either subscription or a prolonged advert for their pay offerings.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    If I were paying for The Register, I'd cancel my subscription !

    Though there are a few facts in this article that are interesting, it's so biased that one has to question the motives of the author.

    Look at his other articles, he's into bashing Sky's competitors (Virgin etc.)

    From (nice pic of him here

    "Keith McMahon used to work in the telecom industry; nowadays his part-time hobby is following and writing about the telecom scene. He likes to provide unbiased analysis from the viewpoint of an innocent bystander"

    Unbiased ? B*llocks.

    So he's based in Leeds (seems, from LinkedIn - says he's a Telcomms Consultant). What else does anyone know about him - other than he should be fired as a contributor on The Register ?

    I wonder if he's Australian by any chance ?

  79. Nigel Whitfield
    Thumb Down

    So many errors...

    Hard to pick just one, but isn't it a bit rich to say "TopUpTV requires a different kind of set top box which is not compatible with the main Free To Air boxes" when Sky's service too will require a different kind of set top box?

    The TUTV box is no more incompatible with the main FTA channels than Sky's - both will receive them all. It happens to work with their overnight download service as well; Sky's will happen to work with their NDS encryption and potential move to MPEG4.

    I can't help wondering whether the author is spectacularly ill-informed, or just trying to spread deliberate misinformation. Either way, it's biased drivel.

  80. Andrew Livingston
    Thumb Down


    As everyone else has said, complete carp.

    Freeview is a failing platform? How? Because a couple of minor channels died? It's percentage of viewing hours continues to increase rapidly, in both Sky and non-Sky households.

    Sky would revitalise the platform? This is the same Sky who are having to remove their channels from Freeview because they're loosing money (indeed, it's worth noting that Sky News has NEVER made anything but a loss in it's entire history)?

    Digital switchover won't achieve the same level of coverage (roughly) as analogue? Simply nonsense.

    How did this get published? Seriously?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The Writer Of This Article...

    ... Has A Brown Tongue From Licking Murdochs Ass!

    Yep I agree, valuable bandwidth is used on pointless +1 channels when there could be better use for this bandwidth such as more movie channels, documentary channels etc

    But SKy are a load of bollocks, their channels are pants. Sky1 sucks, and apart from 1 or 2 shows they poached they are unwatched...

    ... And The TV Licence is th BIGGEST rip off known to man, yet us sad twats will do nothing about it. We should take a leaf from newzelands book and demand this 'Stealth Tax' be abolished!!!

    Now their is an article for The Reg, and maybe a petition to get some support!

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In these times of indifference, gullibility and apathy, it is encouraging to see so many people (basically every one who has posted in this topic) with their bullshit detection meters set to high, so they've not been taken in by this laughably bad Sky 'advertorial' (i.e. fan-boi love-fest) masquerading as independent comment.

    The author should be utterly ashamed.

  83. Steve Kelly
    Thumb Down


    And just plain wrong. The Register should be ashamed of allowing this poor so-called journalism to be published.

  84. Nathan Askew
    Thumb Down


    ...was this article written to provoke reaction?

    Completely misinformed and narrow minded.

  85. James
    Dead Vulture

    Alternat universe

    This does appear on the face of it to be a sponsored article.

    As a glutton for disappointment I extended my Sky subscription to Sky+ then to Sky Hi-def.

    1) There are very few actual hi-def programmes although many standard progs are displayed to fill the gaps.

    2) Sky+ - nothing but broken boxes which stopped working for no apparent reason - Sky did however replace the boxes with no hassle (now on box 5)

    3) Sky Anytime - all the crap under the sun supplied for this feature - check it regular - watch it never.

    4) Sky Broadband (yes I know) Web site is unbearably slow, email won't accept HTML formats, engineers on helpdesk are limited to checking your details and advising it must be your pc. As I work in the industry I scheduled a call with BT who advised the problem - he contacted Sky direct from my house and 5 minutes later I had broadband again. (still charged for the 3 weeks it didn't work although they didn't charge for the 3 routers they sent out {yes 3 - guy reconned I was unlucky and had 2 faulty units sent out after I completely rebuild the pc to prove him wrong})

    5) Sky Movies - anything decent is now on pay per view, the movie channels are nothing more than pathetic.

    6) They advertise they have programmes 2 years before anyone else - bull, a lot of what they have now came from the Sci-Fi channel.

    In short - Sky can't manage what they've got, their technical staff are laughable, their programmes as part of any subscription are poor - if they are good then they are at least a year old.

    The only saving grace was their staff were polite and honest (no I don't work for them - my sister does ;0) )

    To summarise, I left Sky with no regrets - they even had the cheek to offer me 5 box office movies for a reduced rate of £4\month saving me £6 although I would have to spen extra to get this saving.

    I think all but removing Virgin & Cable has put the industry into a sorry state so would the offer please realise that any credability he one had has now gone.

  86. James
    Dead Vulture

    Digital joke......

    One last point, the primary reason the Digital Handover is failling - the consumer has been forced to pay for the governments decision -

    I maybe way off here but hasn't this been in the planning for about 10 years - if so why didn't the government not force manufacturers to incorporate the technology into their sets 6-7 years ago.

    Jane Bloggs, 69 years, pension £90\week.

    Increased council tax - £10

    Increased Electricity - £10

    Increased Gas - £10

    Increased TV Lic - £8

    Food - £25

    Other - £10 (this is minimal and not real world)

    Pension left - £17

    Government Grant -£200

    Cost of 32" tv for person with poor eyesight - £400

    This does exclude single parents on benifit, postal workers, firefighters, council workers, ambulance drivers etc... who have similar financial problems with their below cost of inflation wage rises.

  87. burundi
    Thumb Down

    El Blog

    Quote: "Ofcom and the BBC Trust are also really interested in rapidly pushing through plans for FreeSat, the DSat equivalent of Freeview on DTT. I've always been extremely baffled by this, especially when Sky offers an equivalent service which is fairly priced"

    Obviously the PSB's don't want to give Murdoch more share of the market if they can help it, by controlling freesat they get the delivery mechanism as well as controlling the content. All the better for adding services to, controlling their bandwidth and experimenting with HD content without Murdoch scuppering the PSB plans at every turn because he controls the delivery mechanism.

    Licence fee? Compared to what id pay with Sky or Virgin it represents rather good value and TBH Terry Wogan makes it all worthwhile. Have I just given away my age o.O

    Disappointing article el reg, leave the sky fan boys on digital spy please.

  88. Alex Lane
    Thumb Down

    Only a prawn in Whitby

    It's a measure of how fatuous this article is, that you appear to be talking about digital switch, but the Whitby story you reference has nothing to do with digital switch. It's a transmitter being moved because the current one is falling into the sea. Whitby's not even scheduled for digital switch for a couple of years.

  89. Sam Therapy
    Thumb Down

    The worst thing that ever happened to TV in the UK...

    Was when Murdoch was granted a broadcasting license. I'm surprised (unpleasantly so) that el Reg gave this load of bull house room. May your socks rot and your hens die.

  90. andy

    I thank the lord for the license fee, it's worth it

    Complete rubbish that article.

    I am more than happy to pay the fee charged by the BBC, worth every penny. And judging by what you get for your money with Sky, phenomenal value for money.

    Hail to the license fee

    Down with Sky and it's over priced drivel. The only thing that is worth watching is the American fox news which lives up to every stereotype you ever thought about American rightwing tat. "fair and balanced" news, pure comedy. I used to get up just to laugh at it. Worst of all, it is completely true, this really is the muck that is viewed over the pond.

  91. Alan Jay
    Thumb Up

    Amazing how subeditors can change the perspective of an article

    Hi had a look at the original blog that this article is based on it it titled "OFCOM: DTT Headache" although there are some odd aseritions in the article (TopUp TV and which DTT channels have PSB heretige) on the whole the article makes the case for what it is saying quite well.

    The key point that he seems to be making is "DSat will basically be the only economic alternative for people suffering poor reception and the BBC just does not want BSkyB to be seen saving the DSO."

    This has always been the obvious solution and OFCOM should have mandated it as a solution rather than have the PSB channels invest a huge amount of money in new secondary transmitters for substantially more than the cost of providing all the people who receive signals from them with satellite dishes and receivers (of any kind).

    But the scary BSkyB might want to muscle in on this and so the broadcasters and OFCOM have gone down an expensive route which they can't afford and which will still leave people unable to receive the DTT signal.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alan Jay

    It's nothing to do with Sky "saving" anything - it's stopping Sky having a monopoly and therefore charging what it likes. Ever heard of Microsoft? Hence Freesat (the real one, not Sky's rip-off, for which it can change its terms arbitrarily).

    "the PSB channels invest a huge amount of money in new secondary transmitters for substantially more than the cost of providing all the people who receive signals from them with satellite dishes and receivers (of any kind)."

    So you're saying that it's cheaper to buy and install a satellite dish and set top box for each and everyone who wants one and doesnt have it already, than to re-engineer the transmitter network for digital switchover? I think astonishing statements like that require some justification!

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Sky is expensive

    The catch with Sky's "Freesat from Sky" is that as well as a Sky card, it requires a Sky box. They're several times more expensive new than a generic satellite TV receiver, if you can even manage to get hold of one at all. (Second hand ones are about the same price as a new non-Sky satellite receiver, possibly slightly more for one in good condition).

    Also, good luck finding a decent way of recording programs without paying a monthly subscription to Sky for Sky+. There isn't one - no other PVRs due to the Sky monopoly, no way of controlling a Sky box from anything else, and the built-in timer doesn't work reliably and won't switch on most widely-available hardware now that the VCR is dead.

    Oh, and for all this you get a worse selection of channels than is available on Freeview.

  94. donnacha
    Thumb Down

    Poor Writing

    This was a surprisingly unfocused article. It is sad to see someone covering his lack of writing skill by choosing deliberately provocative subject matter. I understand that it all comes down to page views but, seriously, the reg editors should consider how wasting their readers time like this will, ultimately, harm their credibility. Provocative is fine but you've got to back it up with well-argued points.

  95. Chris Collins

    its not all trash on sky

    Sky get a lot of subscribers based on sports, football primarily. when paying for skysports the mixes are cheap in comparison so I expect people just get them added on.

    Sky one content is mainly .us but the .us content like prison break and 24 to some people is much more enoyable then things like casualty and the bill.

    The other channels even stuff like uk gold with its repeats does interest some people including myself and it was great watching the classic knightmare show on challenge again.

    For the uk channels channel4 is easily the best.

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