U.K.: Sky grows to 2 M HD Subs; 3D Channel Coming

BSkyB reports that the satellite firm has doubled its HD subscriber rolls in the past two years, as more than 480,000 new subs have signed in. Total HD subs, Sky said, have surpassed 2 million — boosted by a series of marketing plans, including providing HD set-top boxes for the same fee as SD boxes.

The steady rise in HD subs has helped position the DBS company in a good financial standing overall, with total revenues of $4.6 billion and an operating profit of about $638.6 million in 2009.

Sky reports its total HD/SD subs are currently just over 9.7 million households.

About two-thirds of its total subs (6.45 million) rent DVRs (HD and SD).

Meanwhile, Sky said its first dedicated 3D channel, Sky 3D, will launch as soon as April. (A special preview was aired last Sunday, Jan. 31, featuring a live broadcast of the Premier League soccer game between Arsenal and Manchester United, which was broadcast to nine pubs in London, Dublin, and a handful of other major cities in the U.K. and Ireland.)

Even in April, Sky's 3D channel will only be available in perhaps a few hundred pubs across the British Isles and Ireland — while major set makers such as Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic ready their first shipments of 3D-ready sets later in the year, and in 2011.

Sky+ HD (opens in new tab) also has announced in recent days that it's making available a new HD box with DVR capabilities that boast storage capacity of up to 240 hours of HD content.