The End of Sky Digital


What's happening?

Recently, the BBC have confirmed that on 8th January 2024, they will be ceasing broadcasts on their TV and radio services on standard-definition satellite equipment. This means that ALL BBC channels, incl. BBC One, BBC Two et al, and their radio channels will not be available on Sky Digiboxes or Sky+ boxes. With the BBC pulling down their old satellite services, other networks will be surely to follow.

This does not affect terrestrial services like Freeview. Freeview uses the DVB-T format, and standard definition services will continue on that platform.

What does this mean for my box?

If you have a Sky Digibox, which has no recording capabilities, or a white Sky+ box, which is able to record, then you will no longer be able to watch any BBC services come January 2024. Slowly but surely, other networks will follow suit, meaning your Digibox or Sky+ box will become less useful as time moves forward.

We are all grateful that the original Sky Digital platform has lasted 24+ years, but its closure is inevitable.

I have a Sky+HD box. Will this affect me?

All Sky+HD boxes are equipped with support for encoding DVB-S2 format broadcasts, meaning you will not be affected by the closure. As long as you have a HD subscription, you will be good.

However, there are a select few +HD boxes that do NOT support DVB-S2. These are specifically some of the PVR4 units that were distributed when Sky+HD first launched, such as the Samsung HDSKY. Most of these early boxes do in fact support DVB-S2; but the only one we are aware of that WON'T work after the SD closure is the Thomson DSI8215. If you are unsure of what box you have and if you will be affected, look at the back of the box and it should tell you all the info you need to know. 

Why are the BBC doing this?

If you purchase any satellite viewing equipment today, it will either be a second-hand Sky+HD for Freesat from Sky, a set-top-box made specifically for Freesat, or, Sky Q. This equipment all have HD and thus DVB-S2 capabilities built-in, and are ready for the future (unless a DVB-S3 happens somehow and this will happen again). The same goes for a TV. If you buy a new TV, chances are it's capable of watching HD Freeview channels with its built-in tuner.

The point is, satellite customers that use equipment which are genuinely incapable of decoding HD content are a minority. And most of the equipment in use today that can't decode HD content, are Sky Digiboxes and Sky+ boxes. 

This subsequently means that the viewing figures of SD satellite channels are now at an all-time low; and when viewing figures for a network are low, it's time for it to go.

While we are disappointed to see these classic Sky boxes slowly dying, they are at the end of the day obsolete.

I have a Digibox/Sky+ box. Should I upgrade?

Although you have until January 2024, now would be a good time to transition.

Your choices