Guy Williams - Richi Rich III (4) credit roberto cubeddu.JPGMoving on from two footed football tackles, Sky 3D are looking to add some depth to the 4-legged escapades of this year's Horse of the Year Show. Covering the 8th and 9th of October at the event, Sky have lined up a few 3D specific surprises for the coverage.

As well as covering the Dressage and Puissance competitions, Sky has worked with event organisers to create a specially designed jump that will maximise the 3D experience, carefully lining up shots that emphasise depth and movement.

"We know from the experience of looking at other sports that it's always good to have low angle shots with lots of images within the frame so that we get some nice 3D depth," Robin Broomfield, Sky Sports' 3D Technical Specialist, told Tech Digest.

"The camera positioning we already use for equestrian sports is already very low angles well suited to 3D shooting, so it's just been a case of looking at what we already had and working with the director and producer to set up some spectacular shots of the horses and jumps. The distance between jumps and combination jumps in 2D tend to appear to look shorter than they actually are - in 3D you'll be better be able to appreciate such depth."

If all goes well, the Horse of the Year show could mark the first of many equestrian shows in Sky's 3D catalogue.

"I'm hoping this will be the start of more equestrian 3D coverage for Sky; not just jumping but events from the racing calendar also. Horses are incredible, spectacular looking beasts and I think in 3D it will really come to life", added Broomfield.

The event finale will be broadcast on the Sky 3D channel on Saturday October 8th at 8pm and Sunday October 9 at 8.30pm. It will also be simulcast in 2D on Sky Sports 4.

For more information visit

Image Credit: Roberto Cubeddu

sky_hd_box.pngSky's EPG channel line-up is to get a fairly drastic shake-up come the start of February, pushing the growing number of HD channels higher up the list.

40 HD channels (not including the key terrestrial channels) will swap places with their more prominently placed standard definition counterparts. For instance, Sky 1 HD will now reside at channel number 106. The changes will only affect Sky+ HD subscribers; the SD Sky EPG will remain unchanged.

"We want our customers to be able to discover and enjoy the content they are most passionate about," said Roy Webster, Sky's Commercial Director. "That's why we've worked with a range of partner channels to ensure that customers can find their favourite pay TV channels and programming as easily as possible.

"And with high definition viewing now demanded as standard, this has also meant swapping HD channels into the EPG numbers that our customers know best.

"The combination of high quality content, an intuitive, easy-to-use EPG, and innovative services like Sky+HD and Sky Anytime+, means our customers benefit from real choice, control and flexibility of viewing, whether linear or on-demand."

The changes will occur on February 1st.

Avatar coming to Sky 3D this Christmas

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Thumbnail image for avatar.jpgSky 3D have bagged quite the three-dimensional coup this Christmas, as they've just announced that they will be the first UK TV broadcaster to show Avatar in full 3D.

Screening on Christmas Eve, it'll be the first time many people will have had the chance to see the highest-grossing film of all time in 3D outside of cinema's, as the 3D Blu-ray edition is exclusive to Panasonic customers.

John Cassy, Sky 3D's Channel Director said: "Confirming Avatar in our Christmas line up for Sky 3D is a huge honour and fantastic news for customers.

"We've got an action packed schedule of 3D programmes on the channel over Christmas with everything from big movie blockbusters and all the major Barclays Premier League fixtures, to the history of pterosaurs with Sir David Attenborough's Flying Monsters.

"We hope 3D will bring people together to enjoy a whole new television experience over this festive and special time of year."

Sky's 3D line-up, providing you're on their top tier of service, is looking very healthy indeed now. Other 3D highlights include Alice in Wonderland and A Christmas Carol, while football fans will want to keep an eye out for Premiership crunch-match Chelsea Vs Mancheser Utd on Decmeber 19th.

flying-monsters-3d.jpgStick me infront of an Attenborough documentary and I go all wide-eyed and awe inspired. Throw some dinosaurs into that heady mix and I, the world's biggest Jurassic Park fan, nearly have a heart attack. Imagine the look on my face when Sky announced that Sir David Attenborough's Flying Monsters 3D would be airing on Christmas Day on their Sky 3D channel!

It will focus on pterosaur species (that is flying dinosaurs for all you budding archeologists out there), and lizard spotters will be able to catch the likes of Dimorphodon, Darwinopterus, Tapejara and Quetzalcoatlus in never-before-seen 3D action.

The one hour show will include "one of the most complicated sequences ever filmed in 3D" according to the press release

"We shot David in a real glider and later superimposed, using CGI, the biggest pterosaur - a Quetzalcoatlus. The idea was to demonstrate the extraordinary scale of the pterosaur, a creature that was longer than a bus and could fly at 75 miles an hour, by setting it beside something from the modern day of the same size that people could relate to," explained producer Anthony Geffen.

"Flying Monsters 3D represents a landmark in our portfolio," notes Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky. "It's our first natural history documentary, our first piece of factual content for Sky 3D and for the first time, we're honoured to be working with Sir David Attenborough, one of the greatest storytellers in the industry. Whether it's the level of detail that has gone into the historical research or the technological innovations that have been created in order to make this programme, the sheer scale of Flying Monsters 3D is stunning."

The film will also be released theatrically in IMAX cinemas around the world in 2011 and return to Sky 3D later in the year. Forget the Queen's speech, that's my Christmas Day sorted.

Thumbnail image for sky 3d pub.jpgLooks as though the 3D content drought may be about to end, as broadcasters Sky have today announced that their 3D TV channel will officially launch on October 1st of this year.

Those with a 3D ready TV, Sky+HD and top channel subscription package will be able to enjoy the new 3D-only channel at no extra cost. The channel will offer a range of programme types, from sport to Hollywood movies.

The intial line-up includes coverage of both the Ryder Cup golf tournament and Premier League football, as well the 3D movies Bolt and Monsters Vs. Aliens. By Christmas, this will expand to include My Bloody Valentine, Alice in Wonderland, Ice Age - Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Coraline, Fly Me To The Moon and Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky's Chief Executive, said:  "As with High Definition, 3D is set to transform the way TV is enjoyed in homes nationwide.   Following hot on the heels of the success of 3D cinema, Sky customers will now be the first anywhere in Europe to experience 3D TV from the comfort of their living rooms.  They can look forward to a fantastic mix of live sport, blockbuster movies, and innovative entertainment and arts shows."

Preview: Sky Anytime+


Sky Anytime+.jpgSky's Anytime video on demand service is to get a massive overhaul later this year. Called Sky Anytime+, we got a sneak peak at at a preview event today which will allow Sky viewers almost instant access to over 500 movies and hundreds of hours of programming.

Piped into your existing Sky HD set-top box through an Ethernet connection, movies and shows will be offered up in standard definition as opposed to full HD, presented in a dedicated section of the Sky EPG. Programmes can be watched within a minute of selection n a 2MB broadband connection, taking around 20 minutes to download an average-length film.

Downloads can be queued, trailers can be watched and the whole system can be searched using a revamped interface tailored to hunting out specific VOD content. Content is subdivided by genre and channel, and can be searched using the alphabet characters on the Sky remote. Downloads can also continue while the box is on standby, using less power to grab shows and movies overnight.

Sky's Box Office service is now fully on-demand too. Purchase a flick and it becomes available within minutes, rather than having to wait for one of the scheduled slots to begin.

A background over-the-air update later this year will upgrade all existing Sky HD boxes with the software needed to run Anytime+, so you wont have to really do a thing to get going with the new service. You wont need to upgrade your Sky HD box in any way, as it already features an Ethernet port which can be used to download the films to your box. However, a Wi-Fi unit will be available for those who'd rather a fully wireless set-up, which looks something like a mini Sky box. Made by NetGear, you'll need a separate Wi-Fi box for each Sky HD box you want to connect to your router.

There is a catch however, and it's a rather big one. The service will only be available to those who also subscribe to Sky's own broadband package, or at least initially.

That means subscribing to Sky's £7.50 a month 20MB broadband tariff. The service comes with an unlimited download quota , which is handy as you'll burn through most limits within a few hours of using Sky Anytime+. Of course, the VOD content you can access is also limited to the Sky TV package that you've already purchased. Don't expect to be streaming movies if you cant already access the Sky Movie channels.

With the service going head-to-head with Virgin's own VOD service, you can understand Sky's reasoning for this closed approach to other ISPs. It's good to hear they are planning to roll it out to other ISPs in the future, but it would have been great to have this feature from the off.

Providing it eventually rolls out to all broadband providers this service could be very exciting indeed. More news on this as we get it.

Thumbnail image for sky 3d pub.jpgSky are lining up a big day of 3D sporting coverage this Saturday 21st May, with three major finals getting a 3D makeover.

Kicking of the 3D hat-trick is the Championship play-off final between Blackpool and Cardiff City at 2pm.

This is then followed by the Heineken Cup Final between Biarritz and Toulouse at 4pm, and lastly the Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan at 6pm.

Sky have been showing 3D sport in pubs since January, using LG screens and polarised 3D. Sky are looking to roll out a 3D channel to their satellite subscribers before the end of the year.

If you fancy checking out the above games in 3D, head over to to find your nearest 3d showing.

Sky World cup boxes.jpgWith preparations for the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa now getting into full swing, Sky have announced details of a limited edition range of Sky+HD boxes.

With specially decorated 1TB boxes from designer Wayne Hemmingway, illustrator Gerald Scarfe and Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels, footie mad tech fans can pick up the limited editions from 26th May, priced £249.

"To mark the World Cup being broadcast live and in high definition this year, Sky has joined forces with three famous faces to produce a limited edition collection of football themed Sky+HD 1TB boxes," Sky's press release reads.

"The exclusive designs are a must have for any football enthusiast looking to soak up every detail of World Cup drama," it adds.

Sky News HD.jpgSky News will be launching a HD channel to mark 2010's Election night broadcasts.

Sky News HD will be a simulcast broadcast of the content from the standard definition Sky News channel, and will launch on Thursday 6th May at 9pm. It will take the Sky channel number of 517.

John Ryley, Head of Sky News said: "We've made the news ourselves in 2010 by launching the first UK news service in HD with sharper pictures and enhanced services for HD viewers. It's an innovation which clearly defines Sky's strengths, our passion and our restless pursuit to be first and to be the best. The detail of Sky News HD is stunning - I hope our viewers will enjoy the new experience."

Sky News HD brings Sky's high-definition channel count up to 40, with all Sky brands now having made the jump to the sharper picture format.

As of 31st December 2009, 2.1 million customers had signed up to receive Sky's HD pack of channels.

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Humax Freeview boxes to get Sky Player

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Humax Fox HD T2.jpg
Sky have announced a new deal this morning, bringing their on-demand Sky Player to Humax Freeview set-top boxes, expanding the number of Sky viewers by thousands.

The deal comes hot on the heels of similar ones made with 3View and TV manufacturers Cello, as well as Microsoft and the Xbox 360. However, the new partnership with the popular Humax brand is a significant move for Sky, as Humax themselves are key players in the now-lucrative Freeview market.

"Until recently, Sky Player has largely been confined to the PC screen but that is changing fast. Since last autumn, it has been available on the Xbox and this year it will roll out to more broadband-enabled devices through deals with the likes of Fetch TV, 3 View and Cello," said Sky's chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

"Just today, we're announcing a further expansion of Sky Player through a new agreement with Humax, the leading provider of Freeview boxes. And there are more deals in the pipeline."

Speaking in Cannes, much of Darroch's speech focussed on Sky's fight with Ofcom over the price of its premium sports content. The expansion of the Sky Player and the increasing move away from satellite based services seems to show that quality content is the most high on Sky's agenda.

"In providing both new and existing customers with more choice and control over how they access Sky content, we continue to harness secure and high-quality distribution platforms like Humax," said Griff Parry, Sky's Director of On-Demand.

"We know that many Sky homes also have Freeview in other rooms, and this provides a great way for them to enjoy Sky away from their Sky box. And for new customers, particularly those in Freeview homes, it provides an innovative new access point to Sky's high-quality pay TV content."

Humax's Graham North added:"The addition of Sky Player on our Freeview HD boxes ensures Humax is positioned to offer consumers an exciting way to experience digital TV, with great content and a range of home networking and content sharing features."

Sky's online TV service will launch across Humax's new range of IP-enabled high definition Freeview boxes, including the Humax HD-FOX T2.

sky 3d pub.jpgLooks set to be a great summer for pub owners. Just think how many of us fancy having a few beers down the local and watching the World Cup? Looks like BskyB have acquired another arrow for the pub quiver, having snapped up 15,000 3D TVs from LG to be installed in drinking holes this Spring.

The idea is to drum up interest in Sky's first 3D TV channel, set for launch sometime around April.

"These partnerships will help consumers become more familiar with 3D TVs and that can only be a positive for the industry and innovation", said?Havis Kwon, executive vice president and head of the LG's LCD division.

Though there is plenty of buzz surrounding 3D TVs at the moment, analysts have predicted a slow start to 3D TV sales. Perhaps this latest wave of televisions has come a little too soon after the HD revolution, with consumers comfortable sticking with their 2D1080p HD sets instead.

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Migrating to new tech always tends to bring with it some compatibility issues between devices, but thankfully Sky seem to have ironed out any possible problems with their upcoming Sky 3D service.

The satellite TV giants sent out a message today, reiterating that "Sky 3D, its forthcoming 3D TV service and Europe's first 3D TV channel, will be compatible with all 3D TVs being introduced by Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and LG.  Sky 3D will work with both 'active' and 'passive' 3D formats." That means that no matter what new 3D TV set you get, Sky have pretty much got you covered.

Dont fret if you're already a Sky+ HD subscriber but are not planning on upgrading your set just yet. Sky's HD content already available will not be affected by the additional 3D channels.

Look for Sky 3D to roll out sometime over the summer. For more info, click here.

sky-plus-new-tv-guide-planner.jpgThe message boards over here at HDTVUK have been alight with readers venting their spleens over the new-look Sky + HD guide, which completed its nationwide roll-out last week.

Many of you have been complaining that the new Sky Guide isn't up to scratch, either running too slowly, not being particularly intuitive or with text too small to read.

Alex Foligno posted on December 17th:

SERIOUSLY AWFUL the greatest injusticed (sic) is the fact that non-HD (lower paying customers) have the classic menu which we have all loved for the past decade. A CLASSIC option would be much appreciated.

James followed up with a similar sentiment:

I thought I would give it a go for a week before I complained as I thought it would grow on me. I was wrong. I still hate it. I want the old one back. The old one was straight forward and easy to use. This one is just a mess. It really puts me off watching TV.

Some readers have had such difficulty reading the new guide that they have contacted the Royal National Institute of Blind People, believing the new guide to be an affront to accessibility for the visually impaired.

Your complaints have not fallen upon death ears completely however! A Sky customer services representative today confirmed to HDTVUK that visually impaired Sky viewers will be able to revert back to the previous Sky + EPG. However Sky + HD subscribers will have to downgrade to a Sky + box in order to get the old guide back. This may be however just a temporary solution, as all Sky boxes, including earlier models, are expected to take on the new look guide sooner rather than later.

What do you think? Should all Sky +HD subscribers be given the option to revert back to the previous guide? Or are the complaints all smoke and no fire, with the guide being well suited to your needs?

Let us know!

(Thanks to HDTVUK reader Mark for the tip!)

3D HD TV trials kick off in Korea

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3D tv.JPGKorea's Communications Commission (KCC) has announced plans to start 3D HD TV trials in the near future.

Pay-TV provider CJ HelloVision will be among the first to run the tests, kicking off in 300 homes, eventually hoping to expand to 1,000 by 2010. Most of the content looks set to initially be cartoons. No pricing details have yet been unveiled, but an extra set-top box is sure to be a requirement.

Korean TV giants LG expect as many as 30 million 3D-ready TVs to be sold by 2012.

UK homes are going to have to wait until an as-yet unspecified 2010 date before we get to try Sky Digital's 3D offerings.

Via: TechRadar


Though Sky News is not set to go high definition until Spring 2010, that doesn't mean it can't do "specials" in HD.

Michael Jackson's memorial service, for example, which takes place tomorrow.

Kay Burley will present "Michael Jackson: The Farewell" from 5.30pm BST, with commentary from US correspondents Robert Nisbet and Greg Milam.

As Sky News HD currently doesn't exist, the HD version will be simulcast on Sky Arts 1 HD, as well as Sky News and Sky Arts 1 in standard definition.

There's a bit more info over at the Sky News Editor's blog.

Update: For those without Sky, you can also catch a special programme on Five. "Michael: The World Says Goodbye" starts at 6.30pm and will be hosted by Matt Barbet with additional reporting by Five's Chief Correspondent Jonathan Samuels.

There will also be coverage on BBC2 and the BBC HD channel from 6pm (thanks Max for the heads up on this late schedule change).

(Via Press Gazette)

To celebrate the first high definition broadcast of The Ashes on Sky HD, and to raise money for some worthy causes, Sky will auction off five unique Sky+HD digiboxes hand-painted by legendary England cricketer Jack Russell MBE.


Jack picked four of his favourite Ashes moments for the first boxes, with the fifth being painted on 8th June as the first-ever Test match ball is bowled at Cardiff's Sofia Gardens.

sky-upside-down-remote-1.jpgSky has decided that the best way to celebrate its high definition coverage of The Ashes is to produce a special remote control unit where all the buttons are rotated through 180 degrees.

This year's Ashes are the first to be shown in HD, with coverage starting on Wednesday 8th July exclusively on Sky Sports HD:

  • 1st npower Ashes Test - Wed 8 - Sun 12 July
  • 2nd npower Ashes Test - Thurs 16 - Mon 20 July
  • 3rd npower Ashes Test - Thurs 30 July - Mon 3 Aug
  • 4th npower Ashes Test - Fri 7 - Tues 11 Aug
  • 5th npower Ashes Test - Thurs 20 - Mon 24 Aug

sky-hd-newspaper-ad.jpgQuite apart from the fact that if you followed one of Sky's latest ads to the letter you'd be staring at a blank screen, the fact is that the small print makes no mention of how much "true high definition" content is being aired:

  1. Turn off your HD ready TV.
  2. Connect a Sky+HD box to it.
  3. Say "wow!"

Pedantic, perhaps, as it doesn't take much common sense to realise that you have to switch your TV back on after connecting up the Sky+HD box.


Sky has announced that its award-winning news service, Sky News, will begin broadcasting in high definition early next year.

Sky News HD is scheduled for a Spring 2010 launch, following studio and production facility upgrades in the UK and overseas. It will be the UK's first dedicated news channel to broadcast in HD.

The commitment to launch Sky News HD follows the channel's successful first ever HD broadcast and HD online streaming of Barack Obama's Inauguration in January 2009 - and, from launch, Sky News will bring spectacular HD pictures to viewers from around the globe as experienced HD cameramen work alongside the channels' world class UK and foreign correspondents.

Sky has announced that it will be exclusively showing two of pop's latest tours in high definition.

Madonna's "Sticky and Sweet" and Girls Aloud's "Out of Control" Live from the O2 will be broadcast on Sky1 and Sky1 HD in July and August respectively.

The two-hour "Sticky and Sweet" programme features Madonna's greatest hits plus songs from her latest album "Hard Candy".

The controversial, record-breaking tour, recorded at Buenos Aires' River Plate Stadium in December 2008, features four sections 'Pimp,' 'Old School,' 'Gypsy' and 'Rave'.

The two-hour "Out of Control" Live from the 02 includes greatest hits from the past seven years plus songs from their latest "Out of Control" album.

The high definition coverage includes full Dolby 5.1 surround sound audio.

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