Over a month after Sky-owned Pick TV and Challenge (and their timeshift channels) suddenly went free-to-air on satellite without explanation, Sky has listed them officially as free-to-air channels on their own website.
|PICK TV, formerly Sky Three, unencrypted on satellite|
At the time, satellite enthusiasts thought that the removal of the encryption must have been down to temporary technical work, or a possible transponder move - as encrypted channels do frequently appear free to air for brief periods of time. A week later encryption was observed appearing and then disappearing from these services adding to the mystery.
On Sky's Entertainment package webpage, where Sky promotes the virtues of its Entertainment package - currently available from £21.50 a month and including such channels as Sky Atlantic, Comedy Central and FX - it now lists Challenge, Challenge+1, Pick TV, Pick TV+1 under the 240 free-to-air TV and radio services joining other unencrypted channels like BBC One, CBS Drama and Information TV.
This is the first openly public official confirmation discovered so far that the channels are deliberately free-to-air on satellite. As they transmit via a widebeam, they can be received far beyond the British Isles. It appears that broadcast rights issues have not restricted the pan-European availability of the channels.
Challenge and Pick TV do not feature on Freesat's EPG however. Like Sky News, these channels can be added quite easily on most Freesat boxes via the non-Freesat mode. Models such as the Freesat HD Manhattan HD-S receiver allow a 'favourites list' to be created allowing users to toggle seamlessly between Freesat and non-Freesat channels.
- Pick TV & Pick TV+1: 12207V, 27500 FEC 2/3
- Challenge TV and +1: 11565V, 27500 FEC 2/3