Sky Ireland Ltd
IndustryMass media
Founded1998; 24 years ago (1998)
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland
Area served
Key people
JD Buckley (CEO)
ServicesPay TV
ParentSky Group
SubsidiariesNow TV

Sky Ireland Limited is a subsidiary of Comcast-owned Sky and supplies television, internet and telephony services in Ireland.[1][2]

Its corporate headquarters are in Dublin which were opened by Taoiseach Enda Kenny on 18 January 2013.[2] Sky's broadband services have no cap and are unlimited.[3]

Sky Ireland employs around 900 staff in Dublin.[4]



Sky Minidish
Sky Minidish


When Sky Digital was launched in 1998 the new service used the Astra 2A satellite which was located at the 28.5°E orbital position, unlike the analogue service which was broadcast from 19.2°E. This was subsequently followed by more Astra satellites as well as Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 (now Eutelsat 28A) at 28.5°E), enabled the company to launch a new all-digital service, Sky, with the potential to carry hundreds of television and radio channels.[7] The old position was shared with broadcasters from several European countries, while the new position at 28.5°E came to be used almost exclusively for channels that broadcast to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

New Astra satellites joined the position in 2000 and 2001, and the number of channels available to customers increased accordingly. This trend continued with the launch of Eurobird 1 (now Eutelsat 28A) in 2001. Additionally, some channels occasionally received new numbering — However, in early 2006, the majority of channels received new numbering, with some receiving single digit changes, whilst others received new numbers entirely.

Sky is currently transmitted from the Astra satellites located at 28.2° east (2A/2C/2E/2F) and Eutelsat's Eutelsat 28A satellite at 28.5°E.

Standard definition broadcasts

Sky's standard definition broadcasts are in DVB-compliant MPEG-2, with the Sky Cinema and Sky Box Office channels including optional Dolby Digital soundtracks for recent films, although these are only accessible with a Sky+ box. Sky+ HD material is broadcast using MPEG-4 and most of the HD material uses the DVB-S2 standard. Interactive services and 7-day EPG use the proprietary OpenTV system, with set-top boxes including modems for a return path. Sky News, amongst other channels, provides a pseudo-video on demand interactive service by broadcasting looping video streams.

Digital satellite receivers

Sky utilises the VideoGuard pay-TV scrambling system owned by NDS, a Cisco Systems company. There are tight controls over use of VideoGuard decoders; they are not available as stand-alone DVB CAMs (conditional-access modules). Sky has design authority over all digital satellite receivers capable of receiving their service. The receivers, though designed and built by different manufacturers, must conform to the same user interface look-and-feel as all the others. This extends to the Personal video recorder (PVR) offering (branded Sky+).

Electronic programme guide


Sky maintains an electronic programme guide (EPG) which provides information about upcoming programmes and a list of channels. Channels available on Sky are assigned a three digit logical channel number which can be entered on a remote control to access the channel and determines in what order channels are listed.

The EPG in Ireland gives priority to Irish channels. All channels are grouped into categories depending on their content. What section of the EPG a channel gets allocated is determined by rules set up by Sky Ireland.

Sky Ireland has no veto over the presence of channels on their EPG. Any channel which can get carriage on a suitable beam of a satellite at 28° East is entitled to access to Sky's EPG for a fee. Third-party channels which opt for encryption receive discounts ranging from reduced price to free EPG entries, free carriage on a Sky leased transponder, or actual payment for being carried. However, even in this case, Sky does not carry any control over the channel's content or carriage issues such as picture quality.

In October 2007, Sky's parent company Sky plc (then BSkyB) announced that they would not accept new applications to launch channel on their EPG, citing "very significant memory constraints" on many of its older digiboxes.[8]

In June 2012, Sky Ireland launched a new EPG for Sky+ HD boxes. The update boasts a new modernised look and improved functionality.

Sky Ireland EPG

The Sky EPG lists all channels carried on the Sky platform. Many channels are free, others are available only with a subscription.

Sky Ireland Channels

Channels on this list are owned by Sky and broadcast advertising specifically for the Irish market.

Some other channels available on the Sky platform also carry Irish advertising, such as the channels provided by Channel 4.


Sky subscribers in Ireland have a different choice of channels compared subscribers in the UK, Germany, Austria and Italy. The standard Irish channels RTÉ One, RTÉ One +1, RTÉ2, RTÉ2 +1, RTÉjr, RTÉ News, TG4, Virgin Media One, Virgin Media Two and Virgin Media Three are available to all Irish subscribers. These channels are described in some Sky publications as "bonus channels".[9]

These channels are free-to-air channels but encrypted to avoid being shown outside of Ireland and Northern Ireland (where applicable). The channels are included with the Sky Signature package and are also available unencrypted on Saorview and Saorsat, excluding Virgin Media channels, which are only available on Saorview.[10]

The BBC provide a number of their channels on the Irish version of Sky's EPG. BBC One Northern Ireland, BBC Two Northern Ireland, BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC and Cbeebies along with their HD variants are available on the EPG. Other BBC channels including BBC News, BBC Parliament and the BBC regions can be tuned in manually to all Sky boxes.

Channel 4 provide all of their entertainment channels except Channel 4 HD, 4Seven and More 4+1 on Sky Ireland's EPG. Channel 4's The Box Plus Network's 4Music is available but their other channels (The Box, Box Hits, Kerrang!, Magic and Kiss are also not on the EPG in Ireland. As these are all free-to-air channels, they can be manually tuned.

Welsh-language station S4C was carried by Sky Ireland for many years where its rugby union broadcasts were popular despite the language barrier; it was removed from the EPG in August 2018 due to rights issues.[11]

ITV and the Channel 5 family of channels have to be added manually to Sky boxes in Ireland.[12]

Sky Ireland Broadband

In February 2013 BSkyB launched its broadband and telephone product in Ireland, and have made significant headway into the Irish market as one of the few providers offering 'triple play' (phone, broadband and digital TV) to the public. As Sky's broadband and phone services use the existing telephone network (LLU and non-LLU) and is widely available as a result. Sky Ireland has offered fibre broadband, using the network of former incumbent, eir, with speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s since 26 December 2014.

As of September 2019, Sky has a 13% market share of broadband subscriptions.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "BSkyB Ireland - The Irish Film & Television Network".
  2. ^ a b "Sky to invest Euro 1bn in Dublin HQ". Irish Times. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Sky Packages & Deals – New and Existing Customer Offers |". Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  4. ^ Slattery, Laura. "Sky Ireland makes management changes as it targets broadband". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  5. ^ "Sky TV plans €1bn Irish expansion with move into broadband and phone".
  6. ^ McGreevy, Ronan. "Sky will invest €1.25bn in Ireland over five years, chief says". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  7. ^ Sky on Eutelsat 28A & Astra 1N/2A/2B at 28.2°E - LyngSat
  8. ^ "Sky to reject new channel applications". The Guardian. 5 October 2007.
  9. ^ "Your contracts (p20)" (PDF).
  10. ^ "SAORSAT". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014.
  11. ^ "S4C taken off Irish Sky EPG".
  12. ^ Tuning guide for all uk fta channels, Posters on, 14 September 2007, retrieved 29 June 2009
  13. ^ Quarterly Key Data Report Q3 2019 - Commission for Communications Regulation, 12 December 2019