January 29, 2012

Sky Atlantic: one year old this week

It's been a year since Sky launched Sky Atlantic for its customers and Virgin Media baulked at the price Sky asked for it. In that time there have only been two series on the channel that have led me to rely on the "generosity of others": Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. Other than those two, for me attractions on the channel have been relatively light. Sure, Mad Men will be a treat when it finally returns but to be honest I've been less impressed than I thought I would be and certainly not tempted to abandon my TiVo and head for the dark side. There are a few great series being repeated - Seinfeld and The Wire are now being re-broadcast in heavy rotation on Atlantic - but I've got those on disc already as have most who know them.
Having said all that, I'd still love to have Atlantic, even just in standard def.
This week sees the first anniversary of the launch of Atlantic (Feb 1) and the following week has Virgin Media's Full Year and Q4 2011 Results and Strategy Update on Feb 8th, so if there is going to be any carriage announcement for Atlantic expect it in the next few days. I don't expect anything but you never know - I think we have all the Sky channels in standard def except Atlantic and of course we have Sky1, the movie channels and Sport 1 and 2 in HD on Virgin. We even have Sky Anytime (although I haven't seen any of the promised HD on that yet) so it's odd that Atlantic is still held back.
So maybe Virgin could spare a few quid from that mega broadband upgrade £120m they're spending and at least give us Sky Atlantic SD. Pretty please?

29 comments:

Martin1887 said...

We even have Sky Anytime (although I haven't seen any of the promised HD on that yet)

Sky Anytime HD content is coming.


IMO Sky Atlantic will not come to Virgin Media this year.

Virgin Media should concentrate on getting channels that they can actually get ie ITV 2,3,4 HD , Universal HD , ESPN America HD , Nat Geo Wild HD , History HD , Bio HD , CI HD

howardmicks said...

Who as stated that hd is coming to sky anytime,i was told by vm themselves only sd versions would be available on vm.sky are keeping hd to themselves for the forseable future as sky exclusives,so when we do see atlantic it will be in sd format

Martin1887 said...

howardmicks:

Read this.

http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/35315903-post414.html

http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/11/33680255-sky-anytime-page-35.html#post35317099

Martin1887 said...

howardmicks:

Also read this.

http://www.cableforum.co.uk/board/35358259-post865.html


Have you been told by Sky Customer Service that they are keeping hd to themselves. If so they would not know either way so stop going on about it.

Martin1887 said...

howardmicks:

Maybe you should actually bother to read the press release

* Sky Anytime on Virgin Media is a bonus service available to customers with compatible equipment, providing TV On Demand content for Sky basic SD and HD channels included within their subscriptions.

** Virgin Media customers do not require Sky Broadband to access Sky Anytime on Virgin Media.

*** Channels include Sky Movies Modern Greats, Sky Movies Drama & Romance, Sky Movies Family, Sky Movies Classics, Sky Movies Comedy, Sky Movies Action & Adventure, Sky Movies Crime & Thriller, Sky Movies Sci-Fi & Horror, Sky Movies Indie, Sky Movies Premiere, Sky Movies Showcase, Sky Movies Premiere +1, Disney Cinemagic, and all HD variants excluding Disney Cinemagic and Sky Premiere +1.

**** Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports 4 and HD variants excluding Sky Sports 3 and 4.

http://mediacentre.virginmedia.com/Stories/Sky-Anytime-on-Virgin-Media-rolls-out-on-TV-and-online-21da.aspx

Nialli said...

@Martin1887: I wouldn't take Customer Service comments as proof of anything. Nor, sadly, does an old press release from VM necessarily guarantee the imminent arrival of services, as those of us who waited years for 4HD will testify.

Martin1887 said...

Nialli:

Virgin Media staff members on cable forum have already said it is coming. So i believe them unlike you. BTW Essjay works for Virgin Media doing on demand.

Nialli said...

(Also, please can you be a little less aggressive in your posts? "Read this" or "maybe you should actually bother to read the press release" aren't called for. Few of us have the time or inclination to read every post on Cable Forum.)

Martin1887 said...

Also 4HD never existed and still does not exist. Sky Anytime HD content does exist.

There is a big difference.

Martin1887 said...

Nialli:

"(Also, please can you be a little less aggressive in your posts? "Read this" or "maybe you should actually bother to read the press release" aren't called for. "

Sorry will not happen again.

Kevin Lloyd said...

I'm not optimistic about Atlantic being made available; indeed it's intriguing that the repeat of all series of The Wire on FX ended (in much accelerated fashion) with series 4 and lo - suddenly it is being shown on Atlantic. I think more content is going in that direction and Sky are still milking the exclusivity. It is a real shame when series such as In Treatment and Weeds which had been on other channels end up there as well as new stuff like Treme (alright that wasn't too hot in it's first series) and Boardwalk Empire. Even SD would be good but I'm heavily managing my expectations and refraining from any more precipitate action than waiting for the blu-ray to emerge.

BTW - and this has nothing specifically to do with Atlantic but is a major bug bear of mine - how has UK television made such an unbelievable mess of showing (or rather not showing) Breaking Bad? One of the best pieces of television drama produced in recent years and we have not had a (legal) opportunity to watch any of it beyond series 2. A cultural disgrace IMHO.

Nialli said...

I noticed that Netflix has seasons 1 - 3 of Breaking Bad. If you sign up for free month's trial you could gorge on it for nowt.

howardmicks said...

Firstly i was told by a vm employee that hd versions will be not included in sky anytime(hope im wrong)2nd a friend of mine used to work for sky and he told me about sky making future hd channels sky exclusives if u noticed any channels gone hd after the sale of vm channels are not available or only in sd ie ssnews,atlantic and f1.hopefully the info is wrong but at the moment is sadly looking true

Moroboshi said...

Eventually these old media dinosaurs will wake up and taste the modern world. If you deny people content they want, they simply download it. Murdoch can moan all he likes about it, but his time is over.

Martin1887 said...

howardmicks:

" Firstly i was told by a vm employee that hd versions will be not included in sky anytime "

That is wrong. Post that on cable forum and people will tell you that is wrong.

Martin1887 said...

howardmicks :

if u noticed any channels gone hd after the sale of vm channels are not available or only in sd ie ssnews,atlantic and f1.hopefully the info is wrong but at the moment is sadly looking true

Sky News HD launched before the sale of vm channels.

Also Virgin Media have the option to carry any of Sky Basic HD channels for a incremental wholesale fee. So Virgin Media could get Sky Sports News HD and Sky News HD if they wanted to.

Just to say That agreement was signed before Sky Atlantic launched so Sky Atlantic is not included.

http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showpost.php?p=56015214&postcount=425

campbellg said...

Having moved to Sky recently I have to say I have not missed VM one bit.

Sky Atlantic has treated me to repeats of the Borgias (which I am seeing for the first time) and now Game of Thrones (seeing for the second time) in preparation for their second seasons.

It's going to be a great year for US drama and I'm extremely happy I won't be missing it like in 2011, it's a shame VM wouldn't fork out for the channel, their punters have missed some very good stuff.

Martin1887 said...

campbellg:

" it's a shame VM wouldn't fork out for the channel,"

Why are you blaming Virgin Media. I would blame sky. We all know what Sky are like.

alan said...

Martin 1887,,Why are you blaming Virgin Media. I would blame sky. We all know what Sky are like...
What do you think sky are going to give it to vm,wake up and smell the coffee,vm needs to wake up and spend some of its money on more hd channels,or is it true ,,sky believe in better,it seems so,they keep fobbing us of with,its comeing,or in the future,6 months then i am off,shame though it could have been good

Martin1887 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moroboshi said...

@campbellg

I could never move to Sky. Not because of any technical reason, but on moral grounds. Murdoch represents the very worst of media and journalism, as has been proven by the behaviour of his gutter press 'newspapers'. On the TV front his companies are hugely predatory, waiting for others to take risks then stealing the successes and locking them away behind pay walls. It's morally bankrupt and offensive.

True I miss out on a few US dramas, at least through legal routes, but the quality of US TV has been dropping like a rock for a few years now, and to be frank, the only show really worth watching to my eyes is Mad Men. Game of Thrones was a decent adaptation but the books aren't behind a Murdoch paywall and are far superior anyway.

For my money I find the BBC's output to be in an entirely different league to anything Sky can buy up. Sky have nothing to touch the BBC's natural history and science output for example. BBC drama goes without saying is excellent too, and they have fantastic imports Sky's ultra mainstream hands wouldn't touch, such as Borgen and The Killing 2.

So as for Sky Atlantic, if it comes to Virgin I'll watch Mad Men on it. If not, I guess I'll have to watch it some other way and Murdoch won't see a penny of my money. I'm preferring the latter option.

Martine93 said...

Premier Sports & Premier Sports Xtra to launch on Channel 549 & 550 this week ?


" Someone high up at Virgin Media has confirmed to me that Premier Sports & Premier Sports Xtra will launch this week on Channel 549 & 550."

Go to view all 38 comments

http://www.facebook.com/premiersports.tv

campbellg said...

Tell me moroboshi, does it suddenly become 'moral' to pay Sky money if you do it through Virgin media?

If your morals were really all that high then you wouldn't be with Virgin either.

US drama is, if anything, getting far better from what I'm watching.

Game of Thrones was a very faithful adaptation with as good a cast as I've seen in anything for a long time. Yes the books are better (I've read them many times)but the same is true of many adaptations, that does not stop them being good TV or film.

sibod said...

campbellg:

Well I cancelled my Virgin TV subscription last week (tivo being taken away thursday) and got a Freesat box - I can do without the Murdoch Pay-wall and locking in of US shows. Especially with their morally corrupt practices like deliberatly overpricing Atlantic so that nobody in their right would pay the premium they expect for the channel. In fact, how many people would actually subscribe to Atlantic if it was a separate addition to the basic Sky sub? I bet far fewer than do now, and that'd diminish Sky's return on their investment. But just as with Sky F1 HD, they want to ensure that they have a deal sweetener for Sky platform subscribers to entice them away from Virgin and the likes. They have decimated SKy 1 and turned it into a graveyard channel with crap like Mad Dogs or Trollied being repeated ad-nausium to fill up the empty schedules, while all the quality shows are being shuffled between the Sky movie channels and Atlantic.

Having said that, I was not prepared to move to Sky just to get 1 channel, and of that only 1 show I was actually interested in. So I cancelled all Pay TV and now fill my evenings with BBC, Channel 4, and the other Freesat channels.

I'll watch Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray when it;s out soon, and wait for season 2 on Blu-Ray too.

Same for Braodwalk Empire. Far superior to watching it on 720p sattelite with adverts all over the shop for £35 a month....

I'm more than happy with Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Dr Who, Hustle, Birdsong, Poirot, Earthflight, etc - I'll rent the rest from LoveFilm or buy it when it'ts out for far less moneyand not give Murdoch a penny....

campbellg said...

That's fine, sibod, I can respect that decision (indeed I was going to mention you in my post as I'm sure you'd mentioned before that you were doing that).

What I cannot be doing with is people spewing "I'd never give Sky a penny of my money" when they are doing so via Virgin.

If you have the patience to wait for the ridiculous time it takes for HBO to release DVD's then I commend you.

I do not, and I'm not prepared to go down the route of illegaly obtaining it, so Sky was my only option - I feel no more immoral about paying Sky directly than I did when paying them via Virgin. Fine, Sky are getting more of my money now but I'm getting more of their stuff back.

Martine93 said...

Bad news

" I sent a email to Virgin Media asking "" Someone high up at Virgin Media has confirmed to me that Premier Sports & Premier Sports Xtra will launch this week on Channel 549 & 550."

Go to view all 38 comments
http://www.facebook.com/premiersports.tv

Is this true ?

This was the reply

"
I'm surprised to hear that as we have not agreed terms for the channels. Virgin Media has actively engaged with Premier Sport over the past 12 months and advised them that we're able to make the channel available to our customers on a premium basis. This is the same way in which customers currently access the channel via Direct To Home services. Unfortunately Premier Sport has chosen to decline our proposal so we are unable to launch. If you have any feedback on this matter, I suggest you contact Premier Sport directly.

Peter Chapman Associate Director, Content Acquisition

"

" This suggests Premier Sports did not want to be a premium channel on Virgin Media "

Martine93 said...

" Our TV XL package now features 3,500 hours of top TV ready to watch whenever you are, including WarnerTV, FX, Sky Living HD, Sky 1 HD, Sky Arts 1 HD, Discovery Channel HD, Aardman Animations and US boxsets. "

https://my.virginmedia.com/customer-news/articles/VOD.html

looks like Sky Anytime HD content is coming very soon.

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Woodland Fay said...

I agree Sibod, now I can't have my beloved F1 coverage in HD without paying an extra £29 a month for all sky sports stuff I'll never watch, I'm thinking why bother with any of it, except brilliant BBC TV and Radio, maybe take up long country walks!