What Format Do Sky Use For Broadcasting?

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by bob007, Dec 15, 2001.

  1. bob007

    bob007
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    Got thinking last night the reasons i haven't gone for SKY+, besides the (£350/£10 subs/£50 instal/ don't use my video)
    i would only gain in being able to have selected films in d/d but not dts. In 6 months you will be able to upgrade again to d/d, dts digibox for another £400. (didn't dvd do that).

    Back to my question, what format do sky use for their broadcasting of movies? Is it disc or tape?

    I thought laser disc and dvd were the only format to carry d/d.

    Are sky using two formats to broadcast?

    My reason in asking if sky use a format (disc) were a d/d soundtrack is available WHY only have selected movies in d/d when 99% have d/d soundtrack, i would say all films on box office have d/d soundtrack.

    Sky done this years ago saying selected movies were in dolby surround, but to me they didn't know much about it as they were only selecting 5-6 movies a week (remember the logo before the movie), when in fact 99% of what they were screening was in dolby surround. Even movies that were made in Dolby Digital were not selected but still have surround soundtrack.

    On a different note but relevent to the format sky use WIDESCREEN.

    last week i e-mailed sky to see what their plans was to increase their widescreen output (movie channel), i would say 99.9% of movies are made in widescreen. Below is their reply;

    All i can say;

    It's a good job they didn't wait for widescreen to outnumber 4x3 before they released DVD.

    Broadcast a copy of a DVD (comes in widescreen and has d/d soundtrack, try blockbusters.)
     
  2. Tony P

    Tony P
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    I don't know what media is used for Sky Digital transmissions, but it won't be Laserdisc or DVD. These are home consumer formats and are different to the higher quality and more expensive source media used for broadcasting. It's not a case of simply transmissing a DVD movie.

    I think Sky are responding to demand based on the circumstances of the customers using the service.

    Think about Dolby Digital transmission. Take the total number of Sky Digital subscribers. From these, a lesser number will have upgraded to Sky+ since the launch 2 months ago. From these Sky+ costomers, consider how many have a digital connection to a home cinema amplifier. Considering that the vast majority of Sky+ costomers have upgraded because of the video recording capabilities, it's highly likely that the number of people who use Dolby Digital is tiny (at the moment) when compared to the total number of Sky Digital users.

    Its a similar situation with widescreen programmes. The most popular movies are shown on Premier Widescreen for those with a widescreen TV. BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 all use an increasing number of widescreen transmissions. It's a fact that the majority of customers are still viewing on a 4:3 TV, and the current broadcast format reflects this.

    Of course, if every household had a widescreen TV and Dolby Digital sound capabilities, then there would be a major shift in the type of transmission. But until then the choices must cater for the majority, with options for the ever-increasing minority.

    At the moment I'm happy that I can get widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 from television transmissions, and look forward to more choices becoming available in the future. As you stated, Sky started transmitting Dolby Surround in a limited capacity at first, and now every movie has the format. I'm confident that a similar situation could arise with 5.1 sound.

    I wouldn't bother with dts on Sky unless you have spare cash to burn. Even on DVD, dts releases are rare, so I don't think an extra £100 for the next generation Sky+ receiver is worth it, considering the number of movies likely to be broadcast with the format.

    Finally;

    It's a different situation. The initial DVD users were mainly those who already had experience with home cinema from Laserdisc or VHS tape, and were aware of the benefits of using a widescreen TV. Early DVD users were the most likely owners of widescreen TV's anyway. It's mainly thanks to DVD that sales of widescreen televisions have exploded since then, and have been boosted even further by digital TV.
     
  3. LV426

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    Chicken and Egg?

    Maybe part of the reason that their viewers are mostly 4x3 viewers is because they mostly broadcast 4x3 Pan&Scam material.

    I, for one, do not subsribe to Sky's wretched services precisely because they do not support, sufficiently, the widescreen format.

    If and when they do, I may reconsider.

    In any event, if the ratio they quote (3:1) is accurate, then I'd expect to see 25% of their output in widescreen. It doesn't appear to be so.
     
  4. lechacal

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    I don't think the numbers argument holds up.

    At the moment all the main terrestrial based channels are transmitting the majority of their content in WS. Football games are broadcast in WS on Sky Sports. This doesn't mean that people with 4:3 TVs aren't able to view them! They just don't get to view them in WS unless they want it letterboxed - their choice. At the moment there is virtually no choice for anyone on the Sky movie channels (or Sky1, come to that).

    At the moment people with 16:9 TVs are p'd off. If they broadcast everything in WS surely everyone would be happy?
     
  5. Tony P

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    I don't think the main problem is with Sky not supporting the widescreen format, rather the availability of suitable widescreen productions. Admittedly, there could be more widescreen movies on Sky Digital, but channels like Sky 1 show mainly imported American shows that are made in 4:3. The UK terrestrial channels are going the right way by producing all their new content in widescreen, with a cut-down 14:9 version for non-digital/non-widescreen viewers. Existing 4:3 productions can't be shown in widescreen without cropping the picture, so quite rightly they don't do it.

    I think people are making a bigger issue out of the availability of widescreen movies on Sky than necessary. The majority of movies on the numerous Premier and Moviemax channels tend to replay the same content over and over, on a different channel and at a different time slot over a few weeks. Premier Widescreen rotate the same movies at varying times. I know it would be great to have all these movie channels showing widescreen presentations all the time, but as long as I get to see the movies I want in widescreen, I'm happy. Bear in mind that the widescreen movies are anamorphic, and must be viewed as letterbox on a 4:3 TV. There is no 4:3 alternative.

    As I said originally, this is why there are fewer widescreen movies than 4:3. Everyone can watch 4:3 presentations, but only the lucky few can fully enjoy widescreen. If you are choosing not to subscribe to "Sky's wretched services" because of their widescreen content, then apart from missing out on the latest digital TV features, you're giving ammunition to Sky who will continue to tell us that not enough customers want more widescreen programming.
     
  6. squid

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    , but channels like Sky 1 show mainly imported American shows that are made in 4:3

    but a lot of the progs from the us are made in 16:9 now and the beeb manages to show them in that format buffy for instance
     
  7. Guest

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    [The majority of movies on the numerous Premier and Moviemax channels tend to replay the same content over and over, on a different channel and at a different time slot over a few weeks. Premier Widescreen rotate the same movies at varying times. I know it would be great to have all these movie channels showing widescreen presentations all the time, but as long as I get to see the movies I want in widescreen, I'm happy]


    The movies we want in widescreen? The other night sky were showing "Dennis the Menace" on Premiere Widescreen with Dolby Digital whilst showing The Phantom Menace in 4x3 on sky premier...perhaps until they increase the amount of w/s broadcasts they should be more selective!
     

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