Syfy (UK and Ireland)
|Launched||1 October 1995|
|Owned by||Universal Networks International
|Picture format||4:3/16:9 576i (SDTV)
16:9 1080i (HDTV)
~0.0% (+1) (November 2012, BARB)
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom
|Formerly called||Sci Fi Channel (until 13 April 2010)|
|Timeshift service||Syfy +1|
|Sky||Channel 114 (SD/HD)
Channel 194 (+1)
Channel 201 (SD)
|Virgin Media||Channel 135
Channel 136 (+1)
Channel 165 (HD)
|Smallworld Cable||Channel 117|
|UPC Ireland||Channel 129|
|TalkTalk Plus TV||Channel 419|
Channel 448 (HD)
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK and Ireland only)|
|Virgin TV Anywhere||Watch live (UK only)|
Syfy (formerly Sci Fi Channel) is a television channel service specialising in science fiction, fantasy and horror shows and movies. It is available via digital cable, IPTV and satellite television platforms. The channel launched in 1995 in the UK a sister channel to the US Sci Fi Channel (now Syfy), with a similar programming line-up. Syfy currently operates as a channel service of Universal Networks International, a division of NBCUniversal.
On 13 April 2010, Sci Fi Channel 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.
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.
Viewership and reach
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.
A high-definition simulcast channel was launched on the Sky+ HD service as the 31st HD 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.
- "Universal Networks International". NBCUniversal. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- Tryhorn, Chris (2010-02-19). "Sci Fi channel to rebrand in April". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- Farber, Alex (2012-10-17). "Syfy first to beam Star Trek in HD". Broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- Munn, Patrick (2012-10-03). "Syfy UK Acquires Rights To 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'". Tvwise.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "Star Trek Syfy UK To Air TNG in HD". Startrek.com. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "SCI FI HD to be beamed up to Virgin TV viewers". Virgin Media. 2010-03-15.