Three More HD Channels for Sky

On the eve of Sky upgrading three more channels to HD, there’s no sign of Sky 5 screening the latest seasons of the Arrowverse series that were pivotal to its HD conversion.

Arrow will return for its final season in November but Supergirl and The Flash will screen first on Neon. The former streams weekly from today and the latter, weekly from Wednesday.

Sky has yet to reveal when the series will resume on Sky 5 — even though they stand out among the second-tier reality dross and procedural re-runs that litter the schedule.

It’s great for fans to see these shows day-and-date with the US but given they used to be fast-tracked to Sky 5, and subscribers now have to pay an additional Neon sub to view them, the strategy seems cynical to say the least.

Meanwhile, to my knowledge Sky hasn’t mailed subscribers or issued a media release about Discovery, Discovery Turbo and Living going HD tomorrow.

It has confirmed the change following revelations by an installer on Geekzone but isn’t commenting on whether more channels will go HD or if new HD channels will be launched.

Discovery, Discovery Turbo and Living follow HD upgrades of Duke, Rialto, Vibe and Sky 5, and the expansion of Sky Sport to include 12 HD channels.

Living and Discovery certainly have sporadically decent programming to justify priority but what about BBC Earth, Arts, a cable news channel or one of Sky’s most popular entertainment channels, BBC UKTV, which has evolved from screening classics to modern fare that’s shot in HD?

Case in point: the latest season of Peaky Blinders, which was wasted in SD on UKTV. (If you haven’t already seen it in HD on the BBC iPlayer, it premiered this month on Netflix US.)

The problem Sky faces with UKTV is it’s a foreign service rather than one programmed locally. Upgrading such a channel to HD requires a lot more rigmarole on Sky’s part, from giving notice of its HD ambitions to the service to contractural obligations to whether the foreign operator can even provide all their content in HD.

With channels that Sky programmes, the HD conversion is much simpler and quicker to expedite.

Also worthy of an HD upgrade would be the Vintage movies channel and at least one other documentary service, like National Geographic — although it remains to be seen what the impact of Dinsey+’s November 19 launch will be given the new streaming platform also will carry NatGeo content, at least in the US.

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