Igloo Leaves Sky HD Out in the Cold
Anyone hoping to get Sky HD on the cheap through the satcaster’s new Igloo venture with TVNZ will have to wait until hell freezes over.
The flexible new “pre-pay” DTT service, a kind of Freeview|HD Plus, will combine free-to-air content with 11 of Sky’s basic channels for about $25 a month.
They are Comedy Central, UKTV, Food TV, BBC World News and BBC Knowledge, MTV Hits, Kidzone24, National Geographic Channel, TVNZ Heartland, Animal Planet and Vibe – none of which is transmitted in HD on the Sky platform, anyway.
However, the unique, sub-$200 set-top box needed to receive Igloo will offer, for an extra charge, on-demand and pay-per-view downloads of sports events and library content.
While it sounds as though you’ll be able to cherry pick Sky content rather than subscribe to bundles of channels, none of the live sport or 1000-plus movies and TV shows will be downloadable in HD.
That’s not surprising given Sky essentially is using Igloo to mop up the viewers who would never subscribe to its satellite service – but who will need to opt for a digital platform as analogue broadcasts are phased out over the next year or two.
Rather than lose them all to Freeview, the low-cost Igloo is a means of luring at least some — an anticipated 50,000 by the end of next year — to pay-TV in the hope they can be encouraged to graduate to satellite while spending extra for on-demand and ppv content.
Igloo will be 51% owned by Sky and 49% by TVNZ. It will cost $25 million to launch in the first half of 2012, and will lose $3 million annually in the first two years.