Sky Movies is the collective name for the British subscription television movie channels operated by Sky Television, later British Sky Broadcasting.

Sky Movies was originally a single movie channel offered as part of Sky's original 4-channel package in February 1989, but it was not until 1990 that it became the first Sky channel to scramble its signal, using a hard-encryption system called Videocrypt which rendered the picture totally incomprehensible to anyone attempting to view it without a decoder and smart card.

When Sky merged with rival British Satellite Broadcasting it acquired BSB's The Movie Channel, and with the launch of the second Astra satellite in 1991 The Movie Channel was relaunched as part of the Sky package. Later Sky added a "classic movies" channel, Sky Movies Gold.

The Movie Channel was subsequently renamed Sky Premier, Sky Movies became Sky Moviemax, and Sky Movies Gold became Sky Cinema.

The launch of Sky Digital was accompanied by a dramatic expansion of channels. Sky Moviemax 2 through 4, Sky Premier 2 through 5 and Sky Cinema 2 were all launched exclusively on digital satellite, along with Sky Premier Widescreen - at the time, the only channel devoted to showing widescreen movies, despite customer demand for more.

The Sky Moviemax channels were subsequently renamed Sky Movies Max, the Sky Premier channels became Sky Movies Premer, and the Sky Cinema channels became Sky Movies Cinema.

Eventually in July 2003 Sky bowed to demands for more widescreen movies. The Sky Premier Widescreen channel was closed and the majority of films on the remaining channels were shown in widescreen.

The most recent name-change occurred in October 2003, when the Sky Movies Premier and Sky Movies Max channels were all brought under one banner as Sky Movies 1 through 9.

All of the Sky movie channels have always carried commercials between movies, although the movies themselves are uninterrupted. A brief experiment with small on-screen logos in the early 1990s caused a storm of protest, and so movies are now shown logo-free although the channels use logos over feature programmes like movie Top Tens.

Ever since the Sky-BSB merger Sky has had a total monopoly on pay-TV in Britain, apart from the abortive onDigital/ITV Digital, which has led to some occasional grumbling in Parliament, but no official action.

External Link

Sky Movies website