BSkyB has announced plans for a mid-priced version of its services branded Picnic, initially offering customers three subscription channels via digital terrestrial television (DTT) together with broadband and telephony. Sky intends to launch Picnic early next year, pending the outcome of an Ofcom investigation into Sky's desire to expand pay-TV on DTT.
The initial service will comprise three MPEG-2 video streams. Sky Sports 1 will occupy one channel while the other two streams will feature a mixture of children's programming, movies, news and factual programming and Sky One's entertainment in the evenings.
Sky plans to add a fourth stream, which will be taken up by Sky News, should it get approval from Ofcom to adopt MPEG-4 compression technology.
Set-top box maker Sagem has been selected as Sky's initial Picnic partner. Sky also aims to make Picnic available via PCs.
"The launch of Picnic will be a big step forward for customers who are hungry for value and simplicity," said Sky CEO James Murdoch. "We are looking forward to the conclusion of the regulatory approval process, so we can get going delivering a great service and real savings to customers."
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