Hot Off the Press Release: Prime HD Streaming on Freeview


Sky and Freeview today announced Prime could be streamed in HD on the SmartVU X streaming dongle and will be extended to other devices next year.

The initiative coincides with Prime going HD on Freeview’s UHF service years after it was upgraded to 1080i on Sky’s satellite platform.

Previous Sky CEO John Fellet long argued the economics of making Prime HD free-to-air didn’t stack up because it didn’t generate enough advertising revenue.

But under successor Martin Stewart’s direction not only has the character of Prime TV changed — it’s now being used more aggressively as a shop window for the pay-TV service — but so has Sky’s willingness to collaborate with other players in the industry, including Freeview.

Prime’s FTA HD graduation is ridiculously overdue but at least the live streaming is forward-looking (if, for the meantime, limited to the SmartVU X).

Fingers crossed it won’t take Sky as long to upgrade Prime’s audio from stereo to 5.1.

Here’s the press release:

Prime HD and Prime Streaming Channel live on Freeview

Sky’s free-to-air channel Prime is now available to stream on Freeview.

Freeview caters to a broad range of New Zealanders, with 34 channels on air, 13 streaming channels and an on-demand platform combining all the content from TVNZ OnDemand, ThreeNow and Māori TV On Demand. The addition of Prime on Freeview’s streaming platform will provide even better access to a great range of sport and entertainment content.

CEO of Sky, Martin Stewart, says: “Prime acts as a window into Sky, providing a great selection of some of our premium sport and entertainment content.

“It’s our hub for free-to-air sport. Through Prime the whole country can access key sporting moments such as the upcoming Dream 11 Super Smash, Black Caps, Super Rugby and Sky Sport Breakers games.  It’s also the home of unique New Zealand stories and award-winning drama series like The Brokenwood Mysteries.

“We’re delighted Prime and its superb content will now be available to be streamed through Freeview, making it more accessible to all New Zealanders.”

Prime is now also available to be broadcast in HD via UHF transmission, creating a better viewing experience.

CEO of Freeview, Jason Foden, says: “According to a recent study by NZ On Air, almost three out of four Kiwis watch free-to-air television – which is why access to premium content via Prime streaming and Prime HD in this latest collaboration with Sky is important to our viewers.

“We’re committed to providing Kiwis with free, innovative and future-focused viewing solutions. As such, we will continue to look for partnerships that will further enrich TV viewing for New Zealanders.” Foden concludes.

Over half of Freeview viewers already tune in via UHF and watch TVNZ 1, 2, Duke, Three, ThreeLife and Māori TV in HD.  For these viewers, Prime will have automatically upgraded to HD.

For most others residing in HD coverage areas (encompassing 86% of New Zealand homes), simply connect the TV to a UHF aerial to enjoy HD programming on Prime and other channels.  For residents outside HD coverage areas, many channels (including Prime) are also available in HD on Freeview’s streaming platform, currently accessible on the SmartVU X streaming dongle and will be extended to more devices in the new year.

To see if you are in an HD coverage area, go to www.freeviewnz.tv/check and enter your address.

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One Response to “Hot Off the Press Release: Prime HD Streaming on Freeview”

  1. Might as well do it now. Still not economic but then nothing that the new CEO has done seems to be economic – Sky’s previous trajectory had it lasting as long as its new satellite contracts (a long slow grind down). Each new announcement from Sky seems to accelerate the business towards break-even and loss. The continued decline in share price suggests a shorter life than the newspapers – and that’s saying something.

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