Amazon Prime on Freesat and New Partnershipe With Sky

The Amazon Prime Video app is to be added to the latest generation of Freesat boxes, providing another way for Prime Video customers to access the service. New customers will be able to sign-up via the app, and receive a 30 day free trial. The addition will enhance the hybrid offering, which includes a large selection of free-to-air channels delivered via satellite.

Sky and Amazon have also unveiled a new partnership, which will see Prime Video added to Sky and Now TV devices across Europe, including the UK and Ireland. In a return move, Now TV will be added to selected Fire TV devices and Smart TVs.

This means that Sky customers will be able to access all Premier League football matches shown live via their Sky Q box, with matches from BT Sport, Prime Video, and Sky Sports all being available via the platform. However, to do this a subscription will be required to all three services, which may be a costly exercise.

More New Features for Sky Q

Sky has unveiled another raft of new features for its Sky Q platform, which combines satellite TV with on-demand and catch-up services.

Notable features include movies in high-dynamic range (HDR), which offers better picture quality.

Viewers will now be able to watch recordings, on demand content and access apps when satellite signal is lost due to adverse weather conditions.

There are also more commands which can be used with the voice search function, including “Made for Laughter lovers” which searches for comedy programmes.

Premiere League Scraps PPV

The English Premier League has scrapped the pay per view (PPV) set up for additional football matches that would not otherwise be shown on TV, but are being made available due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most additional matches will now be shown on Sky Sports or BT Sport. A notable exception is Fulham v Everton which will be shown on the BBC, and will kick-off at 12pm on the 22nd of November.

The PPV service was criticised for being too expensive. Some clubs also criticised the cost, with Newcastle United suggesting a much lower £4.99 per match fee.

The situation will be reviewed in the new year, and highlights will continue to be available on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme.

Note: This story now falls outside of the scope for news articles on All About Digital TV, but has been included as a continuation of previous stories.

DPlay becomes Discovery+

Dplay, the catch-up service for Discovery’s free-to-air channels, will soon expand and become Discovery+.

Existing content remains free (ad-supported), with a new subscription tier added to allow live streaming and on-demand content for Discovery’s pay TV channels. The subscription will start at £29.99 per year for a limited time, rising to £49.99 (UK prices). A monthly option a £4.99 is also available.

Sky Q customers will get the service for 12 months at no extra cost, after which customers can have the service added directly to their Sky subscription.

Roll out is expected to start in November (2020), and the service will be available to both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

ITV Regions Going HD on Freesat and Sky

All ITV regions will soon be available in HD (high definition) on the Sky and Freesat satellite platforms. The official launch of new regional HD service takes place on the Tuesday 20th October (2020).

This means a fully regionalised ITV HD service will soon be available to viewers in England, the Scottish Borders, and Wales. Until now, only some regions had a HD version of ITV on satellite.

As a result, ITV HD will move to the more prominent channel number 103 on HD compatible equipment.. On Freesat, ITV HD is currently on channel 111, whilst on Sky in regions with a HD feed ITV HD is on channel 176.

Viewers with older SD (standard definition) equipment will continue to find the SD version of ITV on 103.

Additional Premier League Games Pay Per View

It has now been confirmed that all Premiere League fixtures until the end of October will be available to watch, with five games a week available in a pay per view basis.

Existing arrangements and match selections with BT Sport and Sky Sports will remain in place. The matches not already selected for broadcast will be made available on the BT Sport Box Office and Sky Sports Box Office platforms.

This interim solution has been agreed by clubs, but does mean that there will be no more free to air live matches for the immediate future, although the BBC continues to show highlights.

Sky Q Gains Netflix in HDR

Netflix shows in HDR (high dymanic range) quality can now be found on Sky Q, joining a growing collection of HDR content.

HDR content includes some Sky Nature shows, alongside other Sky originals including Cobra and Save Me Too. Subscribers to Disney + have access to Disney content in HDR.

The Secret Garden is the first Sky Cinema original film to be made available in HDR. Live sport in HDR is also expected next year (2021).

Record Audience for Sky Sports

Thanks to a large amount of live sport on the 4th October (2020), Sky Sports have achieved a record audience.

In figures published by Sky Sports,  Sky Sports’ averaged 933,000 throughout the day, accounting for a 11.7% audience share.

3.3 million viewers tuned in at the peak, which occurred just before 5pm, which was a 25% audience share.

Channel U to Return

Grime music TV station will return on 13th November (2020), and will broadcast grime videos and classic shows, along with the movie Against All Odds.

The original Channel U, later known as Channel AKA, first launched in 2003, spending 15 years on air prior to closure in 2018.

Availability is not yet confirmed, but the channel is expected to be available on Sky and Virgin Media.