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Sky launches Anytime+ Video-on-Demand service
Friday 22 October 2010 12:00:55 by John Hunt

Starting Tuesday, Sky+HD customers will be able to access on-demand video content for free through Sky Anytime+. The service will offer movie, sports, entertainment and other content from a range of channels which will be continually updated to generate a large library of content to watch. At launch the service will have thousands of hours of content to watch with over 600 different titles. One selling point is the availability of "iconic box-sets" from HBO which are likely to include shows like The Sopranos. The new option is only available to users who have a suitable Sky broadband connection (either Sky Unlimited or Sky Everyday Lite), although this may change to include more broadband operators over time. This means that if you live in a non-Sky LLU area, you will not be able to get access to this service.

"Sky Anytime+ demonstrates the benefit of being able to use the best combination of distribution platforms in delivering what our customers want. Through Sky Broadband customers can now explore a rich library of programming to watch on-demand through their TVs. Meanwhile satellite continues to satisfy the increasing demand for high bandwidth services like HD and 3D, and Sky+ continues to help customers define their own schedules from the best of the week's TV.

We're introducing Sky Anytime+ against the backdrop of another really strong quarter for Sky Broadband with our fastest growth in over two years. Customers are responding to our mix of high quality, great value broadband products. At the same time we continue to increase the number of our TV customers, with millions now opting to take our state-of-the-art Sky+HD box."

Stephen van Rooyen, (Deputy MD of Marketing) Sky

Users must connect their Sky+HD box either through a wired connection or a wireless one to their broadband router. An engineer install option is also available, and those who are new customer will be given the option of connecting up at install.

The system works using a continuous download so content becomes available to watch before it has completed download. This will mean that there will be a short delay before programmes can be started (of around a minute), but if you have a slow connection this could be longer. Roll-out will also be phased over time with the majority of Sky+HD boxes being able to receive the service by the end of the year.

Comments

Posted by gobbybobby over 6 years ago
Y can't SD users download the HD programs. I have a HD monitor for my PC but not a HDTV so don't want to spend the money on Sky HD.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
"Users must connect their Sky+HD box either through a wired connection or a wireless one to their broadband router."

SkyHD boxes have built-in wireless????

Posted by ian9outof10 over 6 years ago
This is quite annoying. It's a good idea, but 'm not leaving Virgin 50MB to get it.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
The wireless option means adding a wireless ethernet bridge to the Sky HD device, or Sky has a USB wireless dongle that will work with it.

Back of a TV is not ideal location for wireless I've found in the past though.
Posted by Legolash2o over 6 years ago
Thought so Andrew, yeah behind my TV is a heck of a lot of wires. So a lot of interference probably. LOL
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Sign of the times:Behind my TV is a five port gigabit switch. It only has one port free :)
Posted by TheGuv over 6 years ago
For this to take off the VOD quality is going to have to be a step up from Sky Player.

My only complaint about Sky Player (over and above the constant buffering of live content) - was that the On Demand films/tv eps were below average quality.
Posted by mitchja over 6 years ago
No use to anyone who doesn't live in a Sky LLU area though is it????

Hardly my fault Sky hasn't got LLU in my exchange!!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Am glad have not bought the 1TB HD box to replace an ageing one. If the VoD had been available on other providers, I would have to ensure reliable box.

Time to do the sums and decide if the other download services versus keeping Sky Movies is worth it.
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
Just another tie-in wheeze. The only good Sky subscription is none. There is plenty of free content on the web. Even YouView-I won't has the plus point of being free.
Posted by adebov over 6 years ago
Totally agree with mitchja.
What's the point when there are towns with 50,000+ people where Sky can't be bothered to roll out their LLU product.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"content becomes available to watch before it has completed download"

Maybe. What bit rate are we talking here?

"a short delay before programmes can be started ..., but if you have a slow connection this could be longer."

If your line can't sustainably keep up with the required bit rate, you *have* to download the whole thing first, or expect an Interval or two in the middle while it catches up.

It's *not* just a case of buffering for a minute or two up front.

And the required bit rate, and encoding, (which determines picture quality) is not mentioned in the press release?
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Sky have said several times that it's only restricted to Sky LLU at launch. They (sensibly IMO) want to avoid introducing too many variables that they can't control. They've made it quite clear that it will be opened up to other ISPs when it's stable.

@moaur:So I don't need a Sky subscription? Okay tell me where I can /legally/ get the latest seasons of [i]House[/i],[i]NCIS[/i], [i]Bones[/i], [i]Dexter[/i] and the contents of [i]Discovery[/i] and [i]History[/i] channels in high definition in the UK without a Sky sub.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Lol - got carried away. Forgot news items don't do markup :)

You're only right if you take the view that no amount of TV is worth paying for. As soon as you try and suggest alternatives to Sky or VM your argument falls flat on its face.

You either wait and watch in standard def or simply do without. Those are the alternatives to Sky or VM.

Not entirely unreasonable alternatives if you're watching the pennies but don't make out there are actual free alternatives.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
"<freely> opened up to other ISPs when it's stable."

In the same way as carriage on Sky's satellites is opened up, presumably? Right.

Don't hold your breath, then. Remember, Murdoch is currently trying to buy back the bits of BSkyB that he doesn't currently own/control.

There is TV I'd pay for, the same applies to others, but it doesn't map neatly onto overpriced VM or Sky bundles. E.g. for me, I can't get Sky Arts 1 or 2 aren't available standalone, afaik. So, they get no revenue from me, and I don't see the content, and the advertisers don't get to me. Pointless.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
@c_j - very much the same, had cable - all the channels -until we moved out of a cabled area. Moved away, didn't miss a thing. I'd pay for the Discovery and History channels, and that's about it. I just don't see why people fork out £40 a month for mostly US TV when their culture has little in common with ours. Endless identikit unfunny sitcoms just don't appeal. Each to their own :-) In the race for the delivery platform, content seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Posted by c_j_ over 6 years ago
Is there really still no actual info on bit rate and encoding proposed?

I was watching German analogue TV (via Astra) on a 32" TV at the weekend. Perfectly acceptable picture. Vastly superior to much of the overcompressed badlyencoded pictures we get via Freeview. It didn't half make me wonder why we need HD broadcasts.

A bit like analogue FM vs DAB, maybe. Except HD is shiny hip trendy cool and the DAB people haven't managed that yet (because DAB has no worthwhile "content" to market)?
Posted by xb0xguru over 6 years ago
One thing that no-one has mentioned is that Sky are offering this at no extra cost to the customer.

The quality isn't that bad IMHO - I've tried a few movies (field trials) and the quality is slightly less than normal SD. I'm watching it on a 50" Plasma TV tho, so results will vary.
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
@c_j_
I agree, in that nobody 'Needs' HD broadcasts. There will always those that will pay through the nose to have the latest gizmo.
I prefer to pay for and fully exploit unlimited broadband, which allows me to pay for nothing else, yet watch anything a Sky subscriber can.
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