Sky UK Reportedly Plans to End Satellite TV Dish Installs in 2023

Sky (Sky TV, Sky Broadband etc.) has reportedly informed its trade suppliers that they will cease installing “new” satellite TV dishes on customer homes by the end of 2023, which is widely understood to reflect their increasing adoption of broadband internet based IPTV (video streaming etc.) delivery methods.

At present most of Sky’s TV services are still being delivered via their digital satellite services, but that began to change last year with their broadband-based Sky Glass product, which made it possible to stream their TV channels and content over a UK broadband ISP connection. (here). Since then the company has also announced that they will soon make TV streaming via their Sky Stream pucks (boxes) a standalone product (here).

The pucks are currently only being sold as part of the Sky Glass product and are designed to work with your existing TVs (ie adding Sky TV via streaming for a multi-room solution). The pucks originally attracted a £50 upfront cost, as well as a £10 monthly subscription, and required a slightly faster minimum download speed of 15Mbps (vs 10Mbps on Sky Glass). Each box includes an HDMI v2.1 and 100Mbps LAN (Ethernet) port.

The vast majority of UK premises (around 97%) are now estimated to be within reach of a “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) connection, while gigabit-capable broadband lines are expected to reach around 80% of premises by the end of 2025. Suffice to say that such coverage, when combined with Sky’s new internet-based TV distribution products, is rapidly expected to reduce the need for satellite dishes.

According to a report on Advanced Television, Sky has already briefed their suppliers on a proposal to end the installation of new satellite dishes on homes by the end of 2023. The move is not expected to impact customers who already have such a dish installed, since satellite-based distribution and hardware support for those users is expected to continue for a few more years (they recently renewed their agreement with satellite firm SES Astra).

We have requested a comment from Sky and are awaiting their response, although such a move seems quite logical. On the other hand, we suspect that the end-date for new customer installations is probably still tentative, not least because they don’t yet know how successful their standalone pucks will be.

The pucks support many of the same features (4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos etc.) and apps as the full Sky Glass product, albeit lacking in local video recording capabilities. But they can create a Playlist that brings together cloud-based recordings and favorites from the TV guide, on demand, and apps into one place. However, we don’t know what kind of prices and packages will be available alongside the standalone pucks, which are due to launch before the end of 2022.

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