January 17, 2010

Sky Sports HD "coming soon" thanks to OFCOM?

According to the front page of today's Sunday Telegraph, the decision on SkySports and movies, will be made this week by OFCOM. It won't be public until March, and of course then will be subject to appeals by Sky and possibly cancelled by a future Tory government, but at least something is being done to redress the balance.
OFCOM's last published report did say that HD versions of the channels will be subject to the same rulings as the standard definition ones.
It's not really big news and I'm not sure why it suddenly makes the front page of the Telegraph, especially as their political leader of choice, Cameron, has already announced he'll deconstruct OFCOM as one of his first actions if he become PM. Odd.
I've watched ESPN HD most weekends and have enjoyed it, a vast improvement over Setanta. It's a shame that they will only have half as many Premiership games next season, but if we eventually do get Sky Sports in HD on Virgin I will be a happy bunny, even if it comes as a price.
UPDATE: This morning's Guardian says that the Tories will not overturn any OFCOM ruling, and that OFCOM's decisions will be carried out regardless of any legal appeal by Sky:
The satellite broadcaster is expected to launch an immediate legal attack on any moves to cut its prices but the regulator will use its powers to introduce the measures while the lawyers make their arguments [...]
The Conservatives, however, do not appear interested in reversing any decision by Ofcom concerning Sky. Shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told the BBC's Newsnight on 26 November: "On pay-TV … and Ofcom, we explicitly said that is something that should be decided at arm's length from politician.

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