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BSkyB to launch digital terrestrial service

Satcaster under pressure from Virgin, BT

LONDON — Blighty’s dominant paybox, BSkyB, is to launch a U.K. digital terrestrial television service later this year.

The new service, announced as rival NTL rebranded as Virgin Media, will offer some of the combo’s most popular fare, including Hollywood movies and British Premier League soccer.

In return for a monthly sub auds will be able to watch via conventional roof top aerials but they will need a new set top box.

BSkyB’s COO Mike Darcey said: “We look forward to bringing some of Sky’s most popular content to digital terrestrial viewers.

“This will give families more choice and increase the availability of leading content and channel brands.”

The development is clearly a defensive move as BSkyB, controlled by News Corp., comes under increasing pressure from competitors.

Not only does the satcaster have to cope with the arrival of Virgin Media, but also with BT’s new entertainment venture, BT Vision.

Irish-based sports outfit, Setanta, this week revealed it too is attempting to erode BSkyB’s market share by launching a terrestrial Premier League soccer channel in Blighty.

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