Tag Archives: aceonline

Sky writes to Gloucestershire customers about On Demand connector and Sky Wireless Booster safety concern


Sky have been writing to customers in Gloucestershire asking them to check their On Demand Connector and/or their Sky Wireless Booster.

The company said there is a “possible safety issue” with the power adaptor that was included with the product.

It told customers to check if both screws in the power adaptor are fully inserted.

In a letter headed Important Safety Information: Action Required, Chris Syylianou, managing director of customer services, wrote: “Our quality checking process has identified a possible safety issue with the power adaptor that was included with your product.

“Our investigations tell us this issue only affects a small number of units.”

Customers are given a checklist of what to examine and to call a freephone number on 08000 152 582 with any concerns.

Freesat now reaches 1.84 million UK homes

UK free-to-view satellite platform Freesat reported “strong quarterly growth” in the first quarter of 2014, adding 18,000 homes and ending the quarter with a user base of 1.84 million households.

Freesat, which first launched six years ago this week, now says it is watched by more than 3.8 million viewers every week, in what it claims “demonstrates the strong appeal of premium TV on a subscription-free basis.”

Freesat’s connected TV service Freetime now accounts for 41% of all Freesat set top box sales, according to the quarterly stats, with sales of Freetime boxes having more than doubled year-on year.

Freesat said that demand for its mobile app has also been strong with total downloads now at over 200,000 since launching just over 100 days ago. The app works as a remote control, acts as a guide to what’s on TV, and lets viewers set recordings remotely.

“I’m delighted that Freesat’s strong 2013 momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2014. Free TV has never been so vibrant or compelling. TV fans are switching on to our Freetime service and switching away from pay TV and the expensive contracts that go with it,” said Freesat managing director Emma Scott.

The quarterly figures follow recent partnership deals with TV makers Panasonic and Vestel. The Panasonic deal makes Freetime the preferred TV guide in the new range of Viera TVs that are now on sale in the UK, while the Vestel deal will see Freetime included on a wide range of TVs and set top boxes, including those sold by high street retailers Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Argos.

Netflix now streaming in 4K


Netflix says that it is now streaming in Ultra HD 4K quality over the web, with the second season of its original drama House of Cards and several nature films available in the format.

In an official blog post, Netflix said that though its catalogue of Ultra HD 4K movies is currently small, it expects to add more 4K content and increase the number of devices this can be accessed on later this year.

Alongside House of Cards, Netflix viewers can also access a number of nature films in 4K from photographer and filmmaker Louie Schwarztberg. Later this year Netflix said it will add AMC drama Breaking Bad in 4K along with “more Netflix original productions.”

The first TVs capable of streaming Netflix Ultra HD 4K include the Samsung UH8550 and UH9000. Netflix said more TVs that support Netflix in 4K will be in stores soon from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio.

“If you buy one of these new TVs, just connect it to a power outlet and the internet, turn it on and sign into Netflix. Ultra HD 4K streaming will work out of the box,” said Netflix.

“Market researchers predict that consumers will buy a million Ultra HD 4K TVs this year and even more in subsequent years. We expect it will likely take up to 5 years before Ultra HD 4K becomes mainstream; when most of the TVs on store shelves are Ultra HD 4K.”

BSkyB plans cloud-focused set-top box revamp


BSkyB is reportedly planning a “major overhaul” of its Sky set-top box that will make it easier for customers to access content from the cloud, on any device.

According to a Sunday Telegraph report, Sky has set up an internal unit to work on the initiative, dubbed ‘Project Ethan’, which includes plans to move recorded programmes from customers’ DVR hard-drives to ‘the cloud’, or a central data centre.

The new-look service will allow viewers to pause their main TV and then pick up where they left off on another device, such as a tablet or smartphone, said the report.

The Telegraph added that the project is being led by BSkyB’s director of product development, Andrew Olson, who joined from Comcast in 2012, and the service slated to roll out by as early as 2016.

Sky is also said to be working on Ultra-HD, 4K-compatible, software and hardware.

Sky has not officially announced its plans, though is understood to be looking at future developments for its TV service.

A spokesperson for the firm told DTVE: “Innovation is at the heart of our business. We are always looking at ways to enhance our service to customers, as with the launch of our new EPG home page this month.”

Sky, which already offers web-connected set-top boxes to customers, recently launched new features including a Sky Store ‘Buy & Keep’ service, allowing users to buy digital copies of HD movies, with the original DVD also sent to them by post.

In March it also started rolling out a new look homepage for its Sky+HD boxes. With this move, Sky said that for the first time, On Demand and Catch Up TV, the Sky Store and the Sky+ planner will all sit alongside the regular channel listings “as equal options” on the homepage.

Sky records surprise uptick in TV customers

Sky said that it added 74,000 new TV customers in the three months ending March 31, more than double the growth that it experienced in the same quarter last year.

Announcing its fiscal third quarter results, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said that Sky had a strong quarter and “continued to grow at an accelerated rate,” following concerns this week from analysts at Berenberg and Credit Suisse that it would suffer a decline in traditional pay TV subscribers for the first time.

Sky said that it added 74,000 net new TV customers and 108,000 net new HD customers.

It also recorded 284,000 new Sky Go Extra customers and said that 3.7 million customers now use its online offering Sky Go, up 13% year-on-year.

On-demand usage tripled year-on-year, said Sky, and now accounts for more than 5% of viewing in connected Sky homes. On average, each connected home downloaded three pieces of content per week.

“Our investment in connected TV services is delivering results. Almost 50% of Sky homes are now connected and this is transforming their viewing experience: connected customers are watching more TV, they’re more loyal and they’re more likely to recommend Sky,” said Darroch.

“Nine months into our plans for the year, we have added almost a third more new paid-for subscription products than in the same period last year,” he added.

Sky said that its connected TV base is now 5 million, having connected 600,000 more Sky+HD boxes in the quarter.
In total, the firm claimed that it added 2.4 million new paid-for subscription products in the nine months since 30 June 2013, 31% more than the same period last year.

Sky said that its adjusted Q3 revenue increased by 7% year-on-year to £5.666 billion. Adjusted EBITDA was down 2.4% to £1.233 billion, which Sky was a “good result” considering its connected services investment and an uplift in Premier League amortisation.

ITV to launch pay drama channel on Sky


UK commercial broadcaster ITV is to launch a pay TV channel on the BSkyB platform later this year.

The new service, ITV Encore, will feature ITV drama series from recentyears and will, from next year, screen original commissions.

ITV has also struck a deal with Sky that will see ITV content being made available through Sky’s online and connected TV platforms Sky+ HD, Sky Go, Now TV and Sky Store.

The move marks the commercial broadcaster’s first significant foray into pay TV since the failure of the ill-fated digital terrestrial platform ITV Digital in 2002.

The deal with Sky also includes the launch of ITV catch up and archive VoD and simulcast of ITV channels on Sky Go, together with launch of ITV Player on the Now TV box, and the renewal of the carriage deal for ITV 2, 3 and 4 HD and ITV catch up and archive VOD on the Sky+ HD platform.

“ITV’s brilliant dramas contributed to a fantastic on-screen performance last year – we had three out of the top five dramas in 2013, which helped us increase our share of viewing on the main channel for the first time in a decade,” said ITV CEO Adam Crozier. “The time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV’s family of channels, and will complement ITV3, home to our long-running, classic drama series. ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.”

Sky to air full shows on new YouTube channel

UK pay TV operator Sky is set to launch a new YouTube channel that will let viewers sample full episodes of Sky shows online for the first time.

The Sky First Episodes YouTube channel is due to launch on February 1, and is part of a marketing campaign to mark what Sky described as its “biggest ever year of entertainment”

The channel will air the first episodes of shows such like Sky 1’s Moone Boy. Other Sky shows that will be available on the channel at launch are Sky Atlantic series The Tunnel, Sky 1’s Moonfleet and Sky Arts programme A Young Doctor’s Notebook.

“We’re passionate about delivering truly great TV – and the best way of demonstrating this is to give people the opportunity to enjoy the shows for themselves. The combination of Sky First Episodes and a TV campaign featuring entire clips from our biggest and best series means that now everyone has the chance to sample Sky shows,” said Naomi Gibney, Sky’s director of entertainment, marketing and digital.

Freesat launches companion mobile app

UK free-to-air satellite operator Freesat has launched a new app that will let viewers plan what to watch and control their TVs from their mobile device.

Launched today, the free Freesat App is available to download on Apple iOS devices and will act as a companion to Freesat’s connected TV platform, Freetime.

Viewers will be able to use the app to browse programme picks for the week ahead, scroll back through Freesat’s backwards EPG, search for content, remotely set programmes to record, and launch on-demand programmes to play on their TV.

“The new Freesat App is, we believe, a game changer for the free TV market. January is naturally a popular month for staying in – so it’s perfect timing to make the most of all the great new TV programmes that are on via the Freesat App,” said Freesat managing director Emma Scott.

She added that the launch fits with Freesat’s “core goal” of opening up “fantastic subscription-free TV.”

Freesat’s Freetime service gives viewers access to on-demand services from all the main UK terrestrial broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. It also offers set-top access to YouTube, with Scott telling DTVE that Freesat is currently talking to more on-demand content providers.

The Freesat app was developed in-house with support from London-based app design and development firm, Nice Agency. The initial release is for Apple devices only, but there are plans for an Android version to follow, said Scott.

Sky leads UK catch-up market


Pay TV provider Sky leads the catch-up TV market in the UK, expanding its content offering 50% quarter-over-quarter in the last three months of 2013, according to new stats from digital media consultancy, Decipher.

The VOD Audit for Q4 2013 claims that Sky grew its catch-up TV offering to 3,181 programmes in the quarter, narrowly beating BT’s YouView service by 144 shows.

Sky also beat the number of catch-up assets offered by rival pay TV providers Talk Talk and Virgin Media, which offered 2,836 and 1,770 shows respectively, according to the report.

“Interestingly, whilst there was no significant change in Virgin Media’s own on-demand offering, the Liberty Global-owned firm have recently added Netflix access to their TiVo set top boxes, giving their TV service a boost of over 12,000 episodes and movies,” said Decipher.

However, Decipher added that its collection method meant that this content isn’t included in Virgin’s overall figures.

Other findings of the quarterly report were that, of all UK services, the most VOD is available on iTunes, with 65,063 assets – which Decipher audited for the first time in Q4 2013.