‘Picnic’ – Sky’s proposed premium service

Details of Sky’s proposed new premium/pay service on Digital Terrestrial emerged this week. The service would be branded ‘Picnic’ if it were to launch, following an OFCOM consultation. Sky have said the service will consist of three video streams – which would be home to various Sky pay TV channels – timesharing with each other. These channels would be Sky Sports 1, Sky One, Sky Movies SD1 and a couple of other channels to be confirmed. They would initially launch those channels and – if given approval to move to MPEG-4 (instead of the standard MPEG-2) they could then add Sky News to the package. It is thought Sky will make the TV package available as part of a TV, phone and broadband package. The newly-launched Sky Picnic website (here) lets you sign up for email alerts for when new information becomes available, and also reveals the Picnic logo for the first time. There will be official Sky Picnic set top boxes for the service (the service will probably only run if you are using one of those – but this is not 100% confirmed) which will be primarily be made by Sagem and will be capable of running MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streams. OFCOM are currently running a public consultation into whether the service would be viable for the platform, and please contact them to let your thoughts known to them. The public consulation will last until the 14th December, and they can choose to deny it completely, request things are changed on the package before it can launch, or approve it as it is.