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Sky TV Closes Down SD Channels on Older UK Set Top Boxes

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Time to upgrade. Customers of Sky UK’s older TV services and devices, specifically those that can only support the viewing of Standard Definition (SD) channels, are being given a last ditch encouragement to upgrade their set-top-boxes (STB) before they “lose access to all Sky channels” – starting from June 2024.

The change reflects the fact that Sky is in the process of “changing how we deliver our TV services“, which in technical terms means they’re changing the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) method to DVB-S2 (second generation) – something many older SD-only boxes can’t receive (these only support the DVB-S transponder). “This means if you have an SD box, you’ll need to upgrade to continue watching Sky channels,” said Sky.

Due to this, the company and other broadcasters (e.g. BBC) on Sky’s platform have been gradually switching off their SD channels and focusing on HD (High Definition) supporting STBs and channels. The next big phase of this transition happened yesterday, when Sky switched-off 14 of its own Sky Sports and Sky Cinema + MUTV channels (this excludes, for now, Sky Sports News SD and Sky Sports Mix SD – due to being part of another paid ‘Signature’ bundle).

The final stage of this transition is due to start from June and run until August 2024, which the company says means “you’ll start to lose access to all Sky channels“, unless you upgrade. “Without the upgrade, any subscriptions you have to these channels will be cancelled,” said Sky.

The Affected STBs:

Digibox

➤ 4F01 to 4F08 (Amstrad)
➤ 4E01 to 4E05 (Grundig)
➤ 9F01 to 9F08 and 9F0A (Pace)
➤ 0F01 to 0F05 (Panasonic)
➤ 4E06 to 4E08 (Thomson)

Sky+

➤ 4F2001 to 4F2006 (Amstrad)
➤ 4F2101 to 4F2118 and 9F2101 to 9F2137 (Amstrad or Pace)
➤ 9F2001 to 9F2024, PVR2, 9F2201 to 9F2235, 9F2301 to 9F2339 (Pace)
➤ 4E2101 to 4E2141 (Thomson)

Customers of Sky TV are thus being encouraged to upgrade their STB to the more modern Sky Q platform “at no extra cost” (you can upgrade online or call 0333 759 5121). The new box will be installed by one of Sky’s engineers on a date selected by the customer, thus it’s wise to do this ASAP to avoid being caught out. Customers that upgrade can then access all of the Sky channels in their Sky TV package, again.

However, Sky will continue to offer some channels in SD, such as those that cost extra if you want to view them in HD (e.g. Sky Atlantic and Sky Showcase). But some of these channels may, in the future, only be receivable via a more modern HD-capable STB. Still, we can’t help but feel that, in an age where 4K (UltraHD) TVs are now common, paying extra for HD channels on any service has become a bit ridiculous.


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