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Sky Unveils On Demand Download Service

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While it is true Sky has the most comprehensive HD line up in the UK, it has long lacked any true form of on demand content delivery service. Until now...

Speaking to Pocket Lint today, Sky has demoed the successor to Sky Anytime dubbed - wait for it - 'Sky Anytime Plus' and it makes the crucial jump into downloadable digibox content. A video run through can be viewed below, but in short more than 500 movies and "hundreds of hours of programmes" will be made available to Sky HD viewers through its EPG via an OTA firmware update "later in the year".


"There will be over 1000 hours of entertainment", said Sky TV service head Kathryn Downward. "All movie houses are expected to be on board and we are talking to the {UK} terrestrial channels as well".

Like existing on demand services, users will not need to wait for a download to complete, it will buffer and begin playing within one minute. Downloads can also be scheduled and will continue even when the digibox is in standby. Anytime Plus will take advantage of the long dormant Ethernet port on Sky HD boxes, though a separate box is needed (below) is users are to connect via WiFi.

Downsides? Yes there always are. Firstly - as already hinted at - Anytime Plus will only be available to Sky HD subscribers. This is most likely because it uses the new Sky EPG which isn't available to Sky+ customers (I personally prefer the old UI - less lag), though with no HD content available initially it is infuriating.

Secondly (third if you count the HD omission), Sky will require Anytime Plus users to connect to the Internet via a Sky broadband connection. It gave no reason for this bizarre decision (if we're being charitable: concerns about caps on other ISPs?), but it will be frustrating to those happy with their existing services and particularly irksome to subscribers of jet propelled cable broadband. On the plus side, Sky did say it would look to remove this restriction in time.

Ultimately though this is a positive step for Sky and backs up its already impressive Sky Player online service. With a deal for Virgin's broadcast channels also in the offing it will soon be the only option for home cinema fanatics with a lust for all things HD...

Link: Pocket Lint

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