It’s soon to be the end of the line for first generation Sky boxes, which will become redundant in 2024. The changes come as BBC declared many of its standard definition (SD) channels will no longer broadcast – moving to HD only. Sky has also confirmed that technical changes will also be taking place their end, which means that boxes will no longer receive services from March 2024.

BBC viewers trying to watch SD channels will have noticed the change already – if you see a ‘channel closed’ message on your screen, then this is why: the SD channel is no longer transmitted. Support for Freesat users is available here.

ITV 1 will also no longer be available as an SD channel, along with ITVBe, and all its regional services.

What about Sky?

You have a bit longer with SD Sky channels, which are set to change in March. As Sky subscribers will know, some channels are only available in HD if viewers pay extra, but Sky has been writing letters to customers to confirm that first generation receivers will become obsolete, and offering subscribers a free upgrade to Sky Q.

Sky+HD, Sky Glass, Sky Stream and Sky Q boxes will be unaffected.

Some channels which broadcast in both HD an SD will be available in HD-only – as has already happened with Sky Mix (the replacement for Pick).

Have you heard that some SD channels will still be transmitting?

If you have, then you’re right, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to watch them (or listen to the radio stations which transmit on SD). Where Sky charges extra for HD and there are contractual agreements in place to show channels in both SD and HD, it is expected that SD will still be available (until those contracts are up). Some channels may even opt to go SDD only.

However, if you are a Sky customer with the first generation box, you still won’t be able to receive any TV or radio channels in SD, as the technology to view the channels will no longer be compatible with the transmitter. An upgrade to the new DVB-S2 standard is incompatible with first generation Sky boxes.

What can you do?

If you continue with a satellite receiver that isn’t compatible with HD, you will miss out on the channels that have been lost, and gradually lose more over the year.

If you are a Sky customer with a first generation box, you can take advantage of Sky’s offer of a free upgrade to Sky Q. All affected subscribers should have received a letter. If you need a hand with upgrading or would like to talk about a new Sky deal, please get in touch with us.

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