Old Sky receivers and other SD only boxes to become obsolete.

Original Source: CAI – News Bulletin, 12th December 2023

First generation Sky boxes will finally become redundant next year, after Sky confirmed to customers that it will be making major technical changes to its service next year.

  • Further standard definition (SD) channels on Sky will close in 2024.
  • Broadcast parameters will change meaning older boxes will no longer receive services

This follows the BBC’s decision to close all of its standard definition channels in January. Viewers hoping that their older Sky receivers will continue to receive service other channels will be disappointed. Sky has indicated these receivers will become obsolete during 2024. It’s been writing letters to customers still using an older box. This will affect subscribers in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland with any of the first generation, non-HD Sky receivers.

Sky+HD and Sky Q boxes are unaffected, and will continue to receive satellite TV channels, although Sky+HD boxes don’t have access to the interactive and streaming services offered by Sky Q.

In January, the BBC closes all its standard definition services. ITV will also close some regional versions of ITV1 and is expected to continue to make changes to services during the course of the year.

Then from March 2024, Sky will begin to make changes to its services. Some channels broadcasting in both SD and HD will broadcast in HD-only going forward. An early example of the change is Sky Mix, the replacement for Pick, which is now only available in HD. Sky has told customers enquiring about the letters that some SD channels will continue, but that broadcast parameters will change, meaning older boxes will no longer receive the channels. SD is expected to primarily continue where Sky charges extra for HD and where there are ongoing contractual agreements to distribute channels in both formats. Some third-party channels may opt to continue in SD only. Behind the change is a switch to the newer DVB-S2 standard, which isn’t supported by first generation Sky boxes. The switch to DVB-S2 is also the reason why BBC Radio services are affected by the SD switch-off. As a result, older satellite receivers will also lose access to radio stations.

In summary; viewers persisting with older non-HD satellite receivers will gradually lose channels in the next year. Some free-to-air services, notably the BBC’s will be first to go. Then subscription services will be affected.

Sky is offering subscribers a free upgrade to Sky Q. Details about this upgrade are included in the letter issued to affected subscribers.

Sky’s internet TV customers (Sky Glass/Sky Stream) are unaffected.

Freesat customers with older SD-only boxes are also affected by the switch-off of some free-to-air SD channels.