I saw Sky Angel is moving to the online world (completely), so I asked President Kathy Johnson about her strategic vision for the move to IPTV. She referred me to Nancy Christopher, Sky Angel’s VP for Corporate Communication. Nancy told me:
“Yes, we will be transitioning Sky Angel to a broadband Internet protocol called Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). It’s a proven technology that’s widely used in Europe and Asia and gaining popularity in the U.S. We already deliver our service into Canada using this technology.
IPTV provides viewers value-added services and conveniences such as the ability to set up their own equipment (no outside dish or antenna or professionally installed equipment needed), to retrieve programs that have already aired, much like a personal video recorder, and to utilize Video on Demand. IPTV enables programs to be viewed on conventional TVs, personal computers and handheld instruments, which will provide viewers the benefit of receiving programs at home and on the go. Enhanced programming, additional channels and more choices of programming packages for individual subscribers are other features afforded by IPTV.
As our satellite continues to age, it has become increasingly evident that Sky Angel must embrace new cost-effective technology opportunities that will enable us to further our mission to deliver the Gospel around the world. Further, we believe that our subscribers will truly enjoy the interactive programming and other benefits resulting from the convergence of Internet and television.
The transition to IPTV in the U.S. will occur over the next year, and more information will be provided about the transition during the coming months.
It’s interesting to note that Sky Angel led the way in exploring and then utilizing another cutting-edge technology known as direct broadcast satellite (DBS) when DBS was in its infancy back in the 1980’s. Sky Angel was actually the second company to apply to the FCC for a DBS license back in 1981 when DBS was actually untested technology. Back then, frequency spectrum and orbital slots were yet to be assigned, and there was no satellite manufacturer with a high-power DBS satellite design; the DBS technology was widely opposed by television station and cable industry trade groups back then. Of course, DBS came into its own during the ’90’s. In 1999, Sky Angel became the sole surviving DBS pioneer from that first round of nine 1981 DBS licensees when USSB merged with DirecTV (DISH and DirecTV acquired their licenses later). Now, once again, Sky Angel is excited about being at the forefront in utilizing cutting-edge technology, yet, proven technology, in the way we deliver our Christian and family programming service.”