Ski TV Launches in UK

First launched in Australia, winter sports channel Ski TV has launched in the UK, becoming the first sports channel on the Channelbox platform.

Channelbox is portal accessible on compatible Freeview TVs and set top both connected to both an aerial and the internet. This can be found by navigating to channel 271, and provides access to news, movies, music and entertainment channels in a variety of languages.

All channels on Channelbox, including Ski TV, are available for free. It is unknown if Ski TV will join other platforms.

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.

Massive Price Hike for Disney+ Users

Subscribers to Disney+, the on-demand streaming platform for Disney owned content, are to face a massive price hike in 2021.

From the 23rd of February, the UK price will increase by around a third, from £5.99 a month to £7.99 a month. The annual price will become £79.90.

This is despite the platform extending Disney’s own expectations, reaching 86.8 million worldwide subscribers, since the roll-out which began in 2019 and reached the UK earlier this year.

Pop Player Now on Freeview Play

This story happened in November, but has escaped my attention until now.

On the 17th November (2020), Pop Player launched on most Freeview Play devices connected to the internet.

The new player provides on-demand content from Sony’s three children’s channels; Pop, Pop Max, and Tiny Pop. The player can be accessed via the portal on channel 100, or the Freeview Play button.

From launch, Humax 4000/5000t and LG devices were not compatible with the service.

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.

Netflix Removes Free Trial Offer

Netflix is no longer offering 30 day free trials, meaning customers wishing to try the service now need to pay.

No other aspects of the pricing structure have changed, and customers can still take advantage of Netflix’s offer, without contracts, cancellation fees, or commitments.

The move affects the UK and the US, although free trials are still available in other countries, including Austria, Croatia, and Cyprus.

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.

Another Crackdown on Pirate Content

There has been another crackdown on illegally stream premium TV content, with Police Scotland, Trading Standards Scotland, and the City of London Police carrying out a joint operation.

A distributor based in West Scotland is believed to have provided content to dozens of separate illegal streaming services, who in turn provided this content to their subscribers.

Two properties were searched, with multiple devices seized, disrupting access to the illegal streams.