Sky has launched three new on-demand nature programmes featuring high dynamic range (HDR) for Sky Q customers.
HDR offers a greater range of colours, making pictures more vivid and realistic than before.
But Sky viewers will need a Sky Q 1TB or 2TB set-top box and a Sky Experience or Ultra HD subscription to see the difference.
Previous reports had suggested Sky wouldn’t launch HDR until late 2020.
It coincides with the launch of Sky’s new nature channel on Wednesday.
The first programmes available on-demand with HDR will all be nature documentaries:
- Gangs of Lemur Island, five episodes
- Pridelands: Wilderness reborn, one episode
- Malawi: Wildlife Rescue, five episodes
Sky also confirmed that it planned to broadcast the 2021 Olympic Games live in HDR.
Other programmes will offer HDR before the end of the current year, including movies.
In December last year, it was reported that Sky had delayed the launch of its HDR service until “late 2020” so it was “a bit of a surprise” that it had become available today, said Becky Roberts of What Hi-Fi? magazine.
“If you’ve got a compatible Sky Q box and a TV that supports HDR, it should be as simple as turning on your TV,” she told the BBC.
Ms Roberts noted that BT Sport was the only British broadcaster so far to launch a regular HDR service, via its BT Sport Ultimate add-on.
And although Sky’s HDR service will use technology jointly developed by the BBC and Japanese broadcaster NHK, the BBC is yet to offer HDR programming as a regular service.
However, it has conducted several trials of the technology on iPlayer in recent years.