Claims on www.sky.com 'Shop' page stated "HD Pack. Movies, sports and your favourite TV shows brought to life in stunning high definition, with up to 64 HD channels the widest range in the UK. Enjoy your favourite shows with up to five times more picture detail ... hundreds of movies a week, with all 12 Sky Movies Pack channels in HD ...". A list of the HD channels broadcast over the Sky platform was given under the heading "What you can watch in HD".
A customer challenged whether the claims "Movies, sports and your favourite TV shows brought to life in stunning high definition, with up to 64 HD channels", "hundreds of movies a week, with all 12 Sky Movies Pack channels in HD" and "What you can watch in HD" were misleading, because he understood that a significant proportion of the programme content was not broadcast in high-definition.
Sky explained that the European Broadcast Union (EBU) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) set the industry standards for the classification of High Definition TV (HD), which were adopted by all broadcasters. The EBU and SMPTE recognised two formats of HD, 1080i/25 and 720p/50. All channels who wished to broadcast channels on Sky's HD platform were required to comply with Sky's standards, which reflected the EBU and SMPTE technical requirements, and were consistent with all other HD platforms. Sky said all the channels on their HD platform, whether Sky or a third party owned channels complied with the requirements and all content was broadcast to a 1920x1080 standard.
Sky explained that content was divided in to two types; content that was known as 'native HD', which was filmed with an electronic HD camera or converted from 35-mm film and originated in 1080i/25 or 720p/50 format, and content which had been upscaled into 1080i/25 or 720p/50 format. The latter was generally older content, which was filmed before the advent of electronic HD cameras or filmed on 16-mm film.
Sky believed that consumers understood HD to mean a screen that had a line resolution of 1920x1080. They said all HD channels whether on satellite, Freeview or cable broadcast to that standard. Sky said around 73% of broadcasts across all HD channels were 'native HD'.
The ASA understood that all the material broadcast on HD channels either originated in HD or had been upgraded to HD 1080i/25 or 720p/50 which was the accepted industry standard for HD broadcasts. We also understood that a 1920x1080 screen line resolution was accepted as the standard for all UK HD channels.
We acknowledged that not all the content on HD channels was 'native' HD, but considered that as the other programming was upgraded to an HD standard the content of those channels was of HD quality and could therefore be described as such. We concluded that the claims "Movies, sports and your favourite TV shows brought to life in stunning high definition, with up to 64 HD channels", "hundreds of movies a week, with all 12 Sky Movies Pack channels in HD" and "What you can watch in HD" were not misleading.
We investigated the claims under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.11 3.11 Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. (Exaggeration) but did not find them in breach.
No further action necessary.