|Broadcast area||United Kingdom|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Timeshift service||Syfy +1 (closed in 2022)|
|Owner||Sky Group (Comcast)|
|Sister channels||List of Sky UK channels|
|Launched||1 October 1995 (as Sci Fi Channel/Syfy) |
26 July 2022 (as Sky Sci-Fi)
|Former names||Sci Fi Channel (1995–2010) |
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Now TV||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
Sky Sci-Fi (formerly Sci Fi Channel and Syfy) is a British pay television channel service specialising in science fiction, fantasy and horror shows and movies. It is owned by NBCUniversal International Networks, a division of NBCUniversal and as of 2018, Sky Group.
It was launched in 1995 as a localised variant of the US network Sci Fi Channel (now Syfy), with a similar programming line-up. It was on air each day from 8am until 2am, but only on cable as a lack of transponder space on satellite meant that it was only able broadcast for a few hours each day on that platform. It wasn't until the launch of Sky Digital in 1998 that the channel's full broadcast hours were available on satellite.
On 13 April 2010, Sci Fi Channel was relaunched as Syfy, as part of an ongoing global rebranding. The relaunch was accompanied by the premieres of V and Human Target. The channel was given a new on-air look and a tagline of "Imagine greater".
Sky applied for a Sky Sci-Fi trademark on 4 May 2022. On 14 June 2022 Sky confirmed that the channel rebrand would take place at 11am on 26 July, accompanied by a refreshed schedule of new and existing content.
Programming in the channel's early years followed the US channel's model, then consisting largely of archive shows such as Lost in Space, The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and films from the Paramount and MCA vaults. The channel was also notable for being one of the first UK television channels to show anime movies and television series on a regular basis. These programming choices were supplemented by a few 1980s animated series shown in the mornings such as Robotech, Bionic Six and G-Force, although they were dropped as the channel's lineup became more independent of the original US channel.
Currently, most archive and anime programming have been phased out of the channel, which now concentrates on contemporary show, movies, and other programming. One original UK production was the late-night show Headf**k, which featured excerpts from unusual TV shows, short films (including Chris Barfoot's 'Phoenix' and 'The Reckoning') and music videos from around the world. Later episodes were presented by David Icke.
Programmes on the channel throughout more recent times have included UK premieres of big name US shows like Heroes, Flash Gordon, Eureka, and more recently Knight Rider, Legend of the Seeker and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Also shown as of February 2007 are digitally remastered episodes of Star Trek (not to be confused with the remastered series with new CGI); in October the channel secured an exclusive deal with CBS to air Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, remastered from original film elements to current HD standards with new HD CGI sequences, and as of November 2012 have been broadcasting them in (mostly) chronological order.
U.S. imports include series from Fox, HBO, NBC and Syfy among others.
The acquired programming listed below previously aired on either Sky One, Sky Atlantic or Sky Comedy
As of April 2008, the channel reached an average of three million UK and Ireland households a week, appealing equally to male and female demographics.
Initially, the channel shared its analogue satellite transponder with no less than five other channels, limiting its output to early evenings and late nights with the rest of its continuous daytime programming (including cartoons) restricted to cable customers. With the launch of Sky Digital in the UK the channel eventually expanded to exclusive broadcasting on its own channel and now broadcasts round the clock most days each week.
The following is a list of the ten most watched shows on Syfy (previously Sci-Fi), based on Live +7 data supplied by BARB up to 10 September 2017. The number of viewers does not include viewers from Ireland, repeats or airings on Syfy +1.
|1||Heroes||1.01 – Genesis||579,000||19 February 2007|
|2||V||2.09 – Devil in a Blue Dress||549,000||19 May 2011|
|3||Heroes||1.19 – .07%||529,000||18 June 2007|
|4||Heroes||1.05 – Hiros||523,000||12 March 2007|
|5||Heroes||1.03 – One Giant Leap||512,000||26 February 2007|
|6||Heroes||1.06 – Better Halves||509,000||19 March 2007|
|7||The Librarians||1.01 – And the Crown of King Arthur||503,000||8 December 2014|
|8||Heroes||1.04 – Collison||502,000||5 March 2007|
|9||Heroes||1.02 – Don't Look Back||494,000||19 February 2007|
|10||Knight Rider||1.01 – A Knight in Shining Armor||490,000||19 May 2009|
A high-definition simulcast channel was launched on the Sky+ HD service as the 31st high-definition channel on Sky. A range of high definition movies, including Sci Fi Channel original production Ba'al: The Storm God, aired on the channel along with Eli Stone, Tin Man and Sanctuary.
It was added to Virgin Media on 1 April 2010.