BSkyB to turn off analogue in 2002

BSkyB is to switch off its analogue transmission signal from the end of 2002 in a move that is set to transform the digital television revolution in the UK.

BSkyB is to switch off its analogue transmission signal from the

end of 2002 in a move that is set to transform the digital television

revolution in the UK.



To meet the switch-off deadline, Sky is to give away the set-top

decoders necessary to receive the digital pictures - a strategy that has

also precipitated a price war with its digital rival, ONdigital.



From 1 June, all analogue BSkyB subscribers will be upgraded to digital

for free until the analogue-to-digital transition is complete. And, for

the time being, new subscribers will also receive free set-top boxes and

will only have to pay a one-off pounds 40 installation fee. ONdigital is

also planning to give away free digital terrestrial set-top boxes for a

month.



Sky research claims that the price of digital TV hardware is the last

major hurdle deterring potential subscribers.



According to BSkyB’s chief executive, Mark Booth, the plans ’will

transform the company and the entire industry’.



Sky is the first broadcaster to set a date for its analogue

switch-off.



The Government has so far shied-away from imposing a switch-off date for

the entire TV industry, and it is not expected to impose one which falls

during the next ten to 15 years.



Sky has also joined with BT to offer Sky Digital subscribers a 40 per

cent discount off their standard-rate calls. And it is launching a free

internet service provider, skynow, which will be free to both Sky

Digital customers and non-customers.



Twenty-four Sky Box Office channels are due to launch in September and

Sky Sports Extra - showing interactive instant replays, match statistics

and highlights - launches in August. Meanwhile, monthly subscriptions to

Sky will rise by a maximum of pounds 2 in June, although the new charges

will not be introduced for current subscribers until September 2001.



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