Sky has announced that it now has 355,000 digital TV subscribers in Ireland, having grown its customer base by 8,000 since the previous quarter. The company also said it plans to launch a high-definition TV (HDTV) service here next year.
The growth in Sky’s subscriber base has shown an increase of almost 12pc since the end of the same quarter (to March 31) last year. Sky has added 37,000 more subscribers since that time.
In a statement announcing the figures, the company said that its channels are available to more than two thirds of Irish households via cable/MMDS and Sky digital. More than a quarter of Irish households now subscribe to Sky’s digital service, the company claimed. According to figures from the Nielsen Establishment Survey 2004, there are 1,371,000 TV households in Ireland.
Mark Deering, director of Sky Ireland, commented: “With more than one in four households now subscribing to Sky Digital, the appeal of digital television continues to grow in Ireland.” He added the company would continue to invest in Ireland and confirmed plans to launch HDTV during 2006.
No specific details are available for Sky’s offering. The HDTV standard is said to offer superior video and audio compared with currently available services. It displays moving images at 1080 lines on a screen, whereas current standard definition TV sets display 625 lines. The HDTV signal is broadcast at 50 images per second, compared with 24 in cinemas and 25 on standard TVs. To watch a HD signal, users need to have a receiver, a dish and HD-compatible TV or display.
By Gordon Smith