Happy birthday, Sky! The satellite broadcaster turns 25 today, celebrating a quarter of a century of dish-fed telly, movies and sport -- and 25 years of locking up the best TV.
Sky Television launched on 5 February 1989, offering just four channels. After a dodgy start, Sky merged with British Satellite Broadcasting -- remember those square aerials? -- in 1990, to become BSkyB.
In 1998, higher-quality Sky Digital mushroomed to 140 channels. Then came Sky+, beating the successful American digital video recorder TiVo into British living rooms, getting us hooked on hard drive recording and such magic tricks as pausing and rewinding live TV. Sky+ HD followed in 2006.
Building on Premier League football, the latest blockbusters and quality shows from The X-Files and The Simpsons to Mad Men and Game of Thrones to become the broadcasting giant we know today, Sky has now joined forces with US powerhouse HBO to produce prestigious TV shows on an international scale.
25 years on
Today, Sky offers phone deals and speedy fibre optic broadband alongside your telly -- which has transformed beyond recognition with TV, movies and sports either broadcast or on-demand on TVs, tablets, phones or online, and through the cheap-as-chips Now TV.
"Technological innovation, often led by Sky, has certainly changed the way we view TV," says telly expert Vanessa Jackson of Birmingham City University. Meanwhile, "One of the largest cultural changes has been in the value of sports rights contracts, an area where Sky has invested massively -- arguably resulting in the Premiership becoming the richest league in Europe."
Not everybody loves Sky, however: BSkyB is also one of the major arms of Rupert Murdoch's controversially all-encompassing media empire. And Sky's deep pockets are often blamed for pricing rival broadcasters including the publicly-funded BBC out of the market when it comes to sport, movies and TV, leaving many of us unable to afford top-flight footie, sensational shows, and fresh-from-the-fleapit films.
What are your Sky memories? Has Sky and its money been good or bad for Britain? Dish out your thoughts in the comments.