3.5 million sign-up for Sky HD TV

Exclusive channels such as Sky Atlantic HD and 3D TV, have helped tempt a record number of British TV viewers to sign up to Sky HD TV.

More than three and a half million people subscribed to the HD package from satellite TV provider Sky in 2010 – an increase of 68% on the previous year.

Sky provides more HD channels than any other digital TV provider. It also offers a dedicated 3D TV channel which has attracted 70,000 new UK customers since its 1 October launch.

Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of Sky, said: "Next week, customers can look forward to the launch of Sky Atlantic, a premium channel featuring outstanding entertainment from the US and the UK, available to Sky TV customers at no additional charge".

He added "later in the year, we will launch a new service, Sky Anywhere, to make it easier for customers to enjoy our programmes wherever they are".

Sky customer numbers reached 10 million in October last year, while these new results also showed that 24% of customers now bundle their digital TV service with a home phone package and broadband.

Sky Atlantic HD – Sky’s new entertainment channel

Sky, only yesterday, announced their plans to launch Sky Atlantic HD, their newest entertainment channel. Described as the "new home of HBO & Mad Men", Sky Atlantic HD will-
* exclusively air HBO’s new productions as well as HBO classics
* be the only channel to show Mad Men from Season 5
* showcase the best TV productions from the US and UK

The plans for Sky Atlantic HD, follow Sky and HBO’s deal recently announced in July. Sky Atlantic HD will exclusively air all of HBO’s new releases in the UK and Ireland. This includes the highly acclaimed drama Boardwalk Empire, set in the Prohibition-era and made by director Martin Scorsese and written by Terence Winter, previously responsible for writing The Sopranos. Other scheduled broadcasts by Sky Atlantic HD include Game of Thrones, a fantasy drama, based on the books by George R.R. Martin, as well as Treme, the new series set in New Orleans from David Simon (who made The Wire).

Sky Atlantic HD is planned for launch in early 2011.

Sky Germany brings HD channels to iPad

Sky Deutschland has revealed plans to add HD channels to its sports app for the iPad. From the start of October the German pay-TV broadcaster will allow subscribers to view Sky Sport HD 1 and Sky Sport HD 2 on Apple’s tablet.

Subscribers will be able to follow Sky’s live coverage of all domestic games of the Bundesliga while they are on the go. Brian Sullivan, CEO of Sky Deutschland said “The Sky Sport iPad app was a true innovation when it was launched last June for the World Cup”. He added “Now with the addition of our Sky Sports HD channels we are once again bringing our customers a world first – taking the fantastic viewing experience of Sky HD out of the home and putting it right in their hands, wherever they want to watch.”

As well as Sky Sport 1, Sky Sport 2, the app also provides live-streaming of Sky Bundesliga and Sky Sport Austria. In addition to the Bundesliga coverage, Sky’s sports channels will show games from the Champions League, DFB Cup, Europa League and international football such as the English Premier League. Other sports included are golf, ice-hockey, tennis and other sports.

The sports app in HD is available free to subscribers who have already signed up for Sky Sport or Sky Bundesliga in connection with HD. As an introductory special offer, all Sky subscribers will be able to use the app for free for the remainder of 2010.

Conspiracy Theories and the Digital Switchover

It’s an interesting coincidence. Today is the ninth anniversary of the outrage that was the September 11 attacks. At the same time I’ve come across a couple of articles questioning the reason behind the current digital switchover now taking place and how it might be used towards violent ends. I’m not convinced this would happen, but its worth a thought.

The reasoning is that digital TV can be manipulated by the broadcaster. Just as we can use Photoshop to ‘air-brush’ digital images or can edit digital video footage it is suggested that it would be equally easy to manipulate a live image. And how would this be used?

The belief is that this ability would be used by unscrupulous broadcasters and governments to show you what they want you to see on TV. For instance, you could end up watching, a terrorist attack that isn’t actually taking place. This footage could then be used as justification for retaliation. All this is very dangerous stuff.

Like I said I’m not taken in. At least not yet. Even if this is possible, it would take quite an effort to cover-up in a free society. And in a dictatorship the authorities probably wouldn’t feel the need to bother about being so clever, having no voters to answer to. So, for now we can probably rest easy and enjoy all the new channels and HD quality digital TV is bringing our way.

Further opinions about these theories can be found at The Truth & The Light Ministries.

Samsung soon to launch Android HDTV sets?

It has been confirmed that, in response to moves by Sony, Apple and other manufacturers, Samsung is testing out Android on its HDTV sets. Although Samsung is world leader in HDTVs being sold, they aren’t taking in chance and are looking for ways to retain this positions. But, will Android be the answer?

Reports about Samsung including Android in its TVs nothing new. Back in April it was speculated that they may looking into developing Google TVs incorporating Android. At the same time Samsung was carrying out a feasibility study on the business case for Google television.

Considering previous form, it seems that Samsung is serious about using Android. It announced that it has already shipped over a million Android-based Galaxy S smartphones, and plans to release another Galaxy S smartphone, the Samsung Fascinate, later this week.

With so much activity involving the Android OS, it would be no surprise if consumers are soon offered Samsung Android-based HDTV sets in stores nationwide.

Hybrid HDTV/monitors from Samsung – 30 and 90 Series

All things considered, there isn’t much difference between the average HDTV and the standard computer monitor. Typically, computer monitors have LCD screens while HDTVs are often similar, but with added technology. The TVs have the advantage of being, more often, bigger. Meanwhile computer monitors have superior resolution. However. at the end of the day, the main difference is that the HDTV has a TV tuner.

The latest Samsung 90 and 30 Series Monitors are both HDTV and computer monitor. While having their main use use as computer monitors, they have been designed with built-in HDTV tuners, allowing you to check out TV offerings. These are as much  HDTV as they are monitors.

Each display is equipped with HDMI inputs, letting you connect your video game console or BluRay player to it with ease. And with Samsung’s Connectshare feature, there is  added USB multimedia functionality: by plugging in your memory stick, camera or PMP you can watch the video content without your computer being switched on.

The 90 Series will be released in the USA next month prices at around $419.99, while the 30 Series will cost from $269.99.

Sky Sports News HD – A step too far?

HD TV channels have been widely welcomed, and for Sky TV, a definite success. However, The Guardian’s sport blog seems to think that Sky Sports News HD is a step too far.

They seem to think that Sky Sports News is a bit of a joke,  describing it as ‘TV’s equivalent of a hyperactive clown playing with fireworks’. They go on to compare it with Chris Morris’s The Day Today and quote Martin Kelner who wrote in the Guardian last month that Sky Sport News shows that the “spirit of Alan Partridge never dies”.

Harsh words, indeed. But does the new HD nature of Sky Sports News have any relevance to these criticisms of quality? I don’t think so. Getting off the fence, I’ll say that being HD will be to the channel’s benefit.

If you want to read more check out the article here.

Apple HDTV in the next few years?

Recent reports suggest that Apple may be planning it own High Definition TV as early as 2012.

That is, according to analyst company Piper Jaffray, as reported by Apple Insider. Gene Munster believes that a fully fledged HDTV will be released from Apple sometime around 2012 to 2014.

The much discussed Apple TV low cost set top box, with limited storage and access to an app store, is thought to be a logical springboard towards HDTV production.

Munster predicts an Apple HDTV including an iTunes TV pass (demanding a monthly subscription?).  This could be used to stream movies, games, and basically incorporate your console, satellite box and Blu-ray player all in the same unit.

It’s a bold vision of the future, particularly in light of the fact that he sees the HDTV selling for around $2000 (with the iTunes subscription costing a further $50 to $100 per month).

Samsung 3D LED HDTV – 3D viewing in the home

Reports from the Philippines suggest that top TV manufacturers are preparing for what could be the next technology craving, 3D LED HDTV.

The new Samsung LED HDTV Samsung has been undergoing consumer testing. Samsung’s “turn on tomorrow” campaign has seen their LED C7000 HDTV given out for 2 week trials. And, so far the results are very positive. As on trial subject said “I hardly turned it off after that. The 40-inch Samsung LED C7000 HDTV easily eclipsed my own LCD TV in terms of size and features.” It has been described as “a truly immersive 3D viewing experience”.

The Samsung LED C7000 is the first in this year’s LED TV line-up. Higher models are scheduled to be released later this year, all including the company’s proprietary built-in 3D processor and emitter that is designed for compatibility with multiple 3D standards, including half and full HD resolution and the Blu-ray Disc Association-approved Blu-ray 3D standard. All of this means that Samsung’s 3D system  delivers images using a full color spectrum for an immersive viewing experience.

Having 3D TV to watch at home is a new form of luxury. And its not cheap. The 40-inch C7000 costs P169,900, and the 46-inch model has a price of P199,900.  These prices tell us that 3D TV is not going to be available to everybody just yet. But for anyone who loves 3D TV and has enough money to spare this could be the ideal way of buying into a 3D world without having to leave home.