Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 23/04/01Let's go back... back to the 80s and the dawn of satellite broadcasting to the home.

Monday
23/04/01 Let's go back... back to the 80s and the dawn of satellite broadcasting to the home. In the red corner, Rupert Murdoch and his band of merry Sky men: in the blue corner, British Satellite Broadcasting. Sky ignores the official wishes of the European broadcasters and sets up shop transmitting good old fashioned PAL format from its satellites, while BSB adopts the much superior DMAC system with funky square aerials. By the time the much superior DMAC system is actually running, though, it has a maximum of ten channels and Sky has won the battle. And now, the present day. In the red corner, Rupert Murdoch and his band of merry men: in the blue corner, ON Digital. ON has the advantage that it can be installed by the punter and uses existing TV aerials; Sky Digital has a captive audience of millions of existing analogue viewers and effectively no bandwidth limitations. ON Digital takes time to get going, while Sky is busy adding new channels almost daily. And... ON's not doing so well. When in doubt, rename - ON is now ITV Digital, and it's most unlikely that Murdoch will be allowed to buy ITV in the same way he did BSB, but apart from that it looks like history, like 99% of digital TV programming, is set to repeat itself.