Sky HD (Italy) - History

History

Since July 2010 Sky Italia has been giving the 'Sky Digital Key' and the My Sky HD box for free to every new customer (since July 2009 HD channels have been available with no extra cost to all Sky Italia subscribers). The 'Sky Digital Key' is a USB device which has to be connected to the 'My Sky HD' box and to the aerial cable, allowing the customer to receive every DTT SD and HD free channel on the Sky HD or My Sky HD box.

The 'My Sky' boxes launched on 22 November 2005 - based on a new digital receiver with HDD recording capabilities and surround sound output (not previously available on the normal box). Subsequently, the 'My Sky HD' boxes (High Definition with HDD recorder) were added. The 'My Sky HD' service had been provided with an extra charge until July 2010, when it became a base-line service. The service is functionally identical to the BSkyB Sky+ HD.

On 28 June 2010, Sky Italia changed its brands and logos, making them identical to the BSkyB ones.

Sky Italia offers eight packages of channels: five base-level 'Channel Packs' and three optional 'Sky Packs' enhancements. The 'Channel Packs' are: 'Entertainment' with 33 variety, series and semi-generalist channels (3 of them in HD); 'Documentaries and Lifestyle' with 17 channels (2 of them in HD); 'Music' with 16 channels and 27 audio channels; 'Kids' with 21 channels; 'News' with 15 national, local and international news channels and 5 basic sport channels. The 'Sky Packs' are the following: 'Cinema' with 12 movie channels (10 of them in HD), and a 3D channel, Sky Cinema 3D (PPV Sky Primafila movies are 50% off for 'Cinema' subscribers); 'Sport' with 8 channels (5 of them in HD), and a 3D channel, Sky Sport 3D; 'Calcio' with 15 channels (9 of them in HD) covering Italian and international football, the most popular sport in Italy, along with Sky Sport 24 (sport all-news channel), offered as bonus channel for 'Calcio' subscribers. The 'Sky Primafila' service offers pay-per-view movies, sport events and adult content (at night); the pay-per-view movies and some non-sport events are disseminated in 28 'Primafila' channels (8 of them in HD); one channel airs daily Penthouse TV HD programmes, available as a stand-alone premium channel. Sky Primafila has got some similarities to BSkyB's Sky Movies Box Office.

The HD service has been offered without any extra charge since 2009. There are 37 HDTV channels so far broadcasting on Sky, due to become 50 by the end of 2011.

On 1 October 2010, Sky activated its first 3D channel, Sky Sport 3D, available without any extra cost to the Sport pack subscribers. The very first event Sky Sport 3D aired was the 2010 Ryder Cup. On 25 December 2010, Sky launched another 3D channel: Sky Cinema 3D, airing 3D movies, available for free for Cinema pack subscribers. These channel have been replaced by Sky 3D on 6 September 2011.

On many channels, foreign-sourced content is broadcast either with an option to choose between Italian and English language soundtracks (rarely other languages), or with Italian subtitties.

Sky Italia uses the Hot Bird 6/8/9 satellites at 13.0°E, the same satellite fleet used by RAI, Tivù Sat, NOVA Greece, NOVA Cyprus, Cyfra+ and Cyfrowy Polsat.

Tom Mockridge, the then head of Sky Italia replaced Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News International after she had resigned on 15 July 2011.

Andrea Zappia replaced Tom Mockridge as CEO on 1 August 2011. On 7 October 2011 Sky Italia announced it reached the 5 million subscribers benchmark.

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