No Wimbledon 3D coverage for Sky subscribers, BBC wouldn't pay for EPG listing

For the third year running, the BBC will be showing the Wimbledon men's and ladies' singles finals live in 3D. It will also be showing 3D coverage of the semi-finals. However, because it has moved the broadcasts to its Red Button HD service from the now defunct BBC HD channel, Sky customers will miss out.

Pocket-lint noticed during the Beeb's announcement of this year's Wimbledon 3D line-up that Sky's name was mysteriously absent from the corporation's official statement. Virgin Media, Freeview, Freesat and YouView were all mentioned as showing the coverage, but no Sky.

We contacted the satellite broadcaster and it confirmed that Sky will not be hosting any Wimbledon live matches in 3D. "Regrettably the BBC has decided not to make its 3D Wimbledon coverage available to licence fee payers who choose to watch the BBC through Sky," we were told.

"While it's disappointing that largest group of 3D TV viewers in the UK won't be able to watch Wimbledon in 3D, Sky customers still enjoy access to more live sport in 3D than anyone else."

So what went wrong?

It is understood that the BBC has decided not to pay the charge required for a listing on the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Ofcom, the UK's independent communications body, regulates such charges and all broadcasters have to pay it, but the BBC has declined.

A temporary three-month EPG fee would amount to £20,000. No other commercial agreement would have been needed.

With Sky being the main broadcast source for 3D content, it says that around half a million homes are able to watch 3D TV. So it has the majority of active 3D viewers in the country. Unfortunately, unless they watch the coverage on Freeview, they won't be getting 3D Wimbledon matches.

Pocket-lint has also contacted the BBC for comment.

UPDATE: We have now spoken to the BBC. It also confirmed that Sky subscribers will not have access to the broadcasters live 3D coverage of Wimbledon.

However, it added that the reason it wouldn't pay the EPG listing fee is that no other platform will be charging to carry the service. "It is regrettable that the BBC's Wimbledon 3D is unavailable on Sky this summer. Sky was the only TV platform operator that wanted to charge the BBC money to make the Red Button HD feed available to licence fee payers," a spokesperson told us.

"We were unable to reach an agreement on these grounds. Sky viewers who have a television with an in-built Freeview HD tuner should be able to find the Red Button HD stream at Freeview channel 303. In the case of 3D, we understand that all current 3D television models include an in-built Freeview HD tuner."



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