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BSkyB Digs Into Own Pockets to Push Digital.

To the chagrin of pre-existing customers, BSkyB plans to give away the set boxes necessary for access to the 140 digital channels they launched last year. Previously, customers paid the equivalent of $330 to unscramble its digital signals.

The decision to give away the equipment, however, may not have been in response to the deal offered by its competitor On Digital, which was giving away boxes to anyone who bought a television worth more than $330. Instead, it may have been in response to the threat posed by cable television, as boxes for cable customers will be included in monthly subscriptions when digital television is launched this year.

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns 40 percent of BSkyB, worried that viewers might be wooed by cheaper telephone calls. Therefore, Sky Digital will give subscribers a 40 percent discount on all standard British Telecommunications calls.

The conversion from analog to digital driven by BSkyB does not come cheap. The company has allotted over $500 million to convert its three million analog subscribers to digital.
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Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:173
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