Page 2: Developing new products and services
SkyDigital offers a vast number of new channels from British and International programme makers with quality that Sky believes will be unbeatable. This includes two new sports channels - MUTV, the new Manchester United Football Club channel, and Sky Sports News; new non-subscription channels from the BBC, including the brand new BBC Choice - the BBC’s first new entertainment channel in over 30 years; and new music video channels from MTV - M2 - and 44 audio channels of digital quality music.
SkyGuide is Sky’s unique on-screen listings guide. Sophisticated and easy to use, it puts viewers in control of their viewing, with instant access to a whole range of programmes, movies and events at the touch of the remote control, as well as interactive features which will be available shortly. For example:
- Box Office - impulse ordering of movies and events
- Search-and-Scan - a unique facility which allows the viewer to sample other programmes without even changing the channel
- Interactive services (see BIB section).
The parental block
The parental control feature on SkyGuide means parents / guardians can block channels and programmes above a certain rating, restrict ordering of Sky Box Office programmes above a certain price, or remove access to certain channels completely.
Digital quality picture and sound
Digital signals utilise binary transmission of information - a series of noughts and ones - just as in computer systems. The picture and sound quality of digital is, therefore, guaranteed to be near perfect, whereas current analogue transmissions can suffer from signal interference.
Sky Movie multiplexing or ‘multiscreen movies’ provides 11 screens of movie entertainment with a choice of up to 5 different movies every hour. Certain movies are additionally shown in widescreen format with a Dolby Pro-Logic soundtrack. Sky continues to provide the wide choice of films which subscribers have come to expect, from Classic to Adventure, from Thriller to Romance. This service is provided 24 hours a day.
Sky Box Office (near-video-on-demand)
Sky Box Office new near-video-on-demand movie and events service is very convenient - with up to 48 channels showing up to 25 different movies and / or events each month. This will provide as much choice every night as there has been up to now in a month! Viewers can order and pay per film so that they will only pay for the movies they actually watch – like renting a video without having to leave the house! Viewers will be able to choose what to watch on impulse via their remote control rather than having to plan and order ahead.
Digital Teletext will be far more sophisticated than current text services and have the look and feel of the internet. It will be easy to read and use, with greater access to information and better graphics. It provides a reliable, convenient and quick informative service.
Music Choice provides 44 channels of digital quality music 24 hours a day. This is the ultimate service for the music-lover - no DJ’s, no advertising and additional information at your fingertips. CD and artists’ details are displayed on screen if requested.
One of the most exciting aspects of digital broadcasting is its potential for interactivity. In May 1997, BSkyB helped establish British Interactive Broadcasting (BIB) - a company providing interactive services in the digital environment. Interactive services will include home shopping, banking, a travel ticketing service, an email capability, interactive games, as well as informational and educational services. Navigation through the system is simply by a touch of the remote control.