Sky HD Tally Tops 50

Today’s upgrading of National Geographic and MTV Music brings the number of Sky HD channels to 50 (including pop-ups and pay-per-views), with more to come.

“The switch means hundreds of thousands of viewers will now be able to have a crystal-clear view of every cheetah loping across the Serengeti, let alone Paris Goebel’s sharp choreography for some of the world’s most high profile artists,” a Sky spokesperson says.

“The switch is just part of Sky’s ongoing commitment to improve the way we deliver sports and entertainment to Kiwis. To date, 50 channels have been upgraded to HD – and there are more plans in the pipeline.”

Six of the HD channels are free-to-air services and not all the channels are in 1920x1080i — but even the quasi-HD resolution of 1440x1080i sharply improves on the previous SD feeds.

No word on when or even if Sky will offer 4K coverage in the near future, as Foxtel and Sky UK already provide, or when its on-demand service will make the transition to HD.

NatGeo’s switch comes just in time for Sunday’s premiere of The Cave and Monday’s premiere of Cosmos: Possible Worlds.

The former (7.30 Sunday) is an Oscar-nominated documentary about the Syrian war and the latter (8.30 Mondays) is the belated 13-part sequel to 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Here’s the full list of HD channels on Sky: SoHo, SoHo2, Sky Box Sets, nine Sky sport channels (plus four pop-ups and Sky Arena), Sky Sport News, ESPN, ESPN 2, six Sky movie channels, Prime, Vibe, MTV, MTV Music, Rialto, Comedy Central, Discovery, Discovery Turbo, BBC UKTV, Sky 5, BBC Earth, Living, Maori TV, TVNZ 1 and 2, Duke, Three, Te Reo, four Box Office pay-per-views, Trackside 1 and Trackside 2.

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10 Responses to “Sky HD Tally Tops 50”

  1. So I found Supergirl season 4 on sky5 by typing it on the Sky guide randomly. Saturday 7th march 12.15pm is the premiere of season 4. So it’s been demoted to off peak … does it not rate well? I can never tell if a show has many viewers or not.

  2. I’m with you, Fsmith. I can’t fathom Sky’s attitude towards its superhero shows. It trumpeted them as exclusives to help relaunch Sky5 but now has all but abandoned them. You have to subscribe to Neon to stream them same day/week as the US and search them out when they do make it to linear TV. Either they do rate abysmally, and their FTA history would back that up, or plans are afoot for WB to launch a NZ streaming service and Sky’s licensing of these series is soon to expire. Unlikely but makes more sense than dropping them from Sky5’s prime-time schedule (where each used to anchor a different night).

  3. They’re express on the ondemand too, except Arrow for some reason.

  4. Thanks, Darren. Ondemand’s still SD only though?

  5. It seems Sky5 has essentially rolled back into The Box programming it had 3 or so years ago before it changed. A lot of old reality (Border Security Australia episodes from around 2004) and the introduction of the 3-hour Simpsons block on Saturdays which was originally discarded when the Sky5 switch happened.

  6. Good points, Clint. You have to wonder if it’s a channel where they’re trying to make programming economies given ther huge investment in sport.

  7. Sky has never disclosed which OnDemand content is in SD or HD. Content has been added at 720p for the last few years. The only way to know this is to look at the file size for a 45m episode. A 45m episode at ~1.1Gb is 720p. If it was SD it’d be about half that (600MB), if it was 1080p then double (2.1GB). That is consistent with TVNZ – 1.3Gb for a 45min ep and Lightbox 2.25Gb for 45 mins. Again you’ve got to check that definition for HD ‘cos they ain’t all equal.

  8. Thanks, Mike, that’s most enlightening.

  9. I just had a look at Sky Go Ondemand, looks like they renamed it from catchup to ondemand, and it does appear to be in HD now. Well, some of it is. Perhaps they also ditched Flash player too now, picture is definitely nicer than before.

  10. Thanks, Chris. That is encouraging to hear. Will check it out for myself — I haven’t used on-demand in years because the quality used to be so bad.

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