BSkyB chief operating officer Mike Darcey has hit back at rival broadcaster ITV for “championing” high definition television for all. Darcey’s comments come on as ITV and the BBC launch free-to-air digital satellite service Freesat.
Darcey says the broadcaster’s announcement that it would launch ITV HD “exclusively” on Freesat was showed it “wants to have its cake and eat it”.
He adds: ” On the one hand, they are claiming to champion HD for all, while on the other, they are deliberately withholding free-to-air content from almost half a million Sky HD homes.
“This is neither in viewers’ interests nor in keeping with ITV’s ‘HD for all’ posturing. All in all, this is curious behaviour for a public service broadcaster.”
Sky already offers a similar service called Freesat from Sky, which includes free-to-air services BBC HD, C4 HD and Luxe HD. The service costs £150, but is available for £75 including installation in a number of retailers undercutting the BBC/ITV Freesat service.
The BBC/ITV Freesat set top box will cost £49 with a high definition box available from £120 and installation will cost around £80. The service aims to have up to 200 free channels by the end of the year and will reach 98% of UK households.