Sky have announced today that they’re partnering with FetchTV to launch their SmartBox set top box…their what? I’ve never seen this device before today, but there’s what looks like quite an interesting Freeview + (a DVB-TPVR) that can also connect to the interwebs and stream content from the likes of BBC iPlayer, and from today from SkyPlayer (which is er, iPlayer for Sky).
The device doesn’t integrate with Media Center so it’s not our normal bag, in fact there is a significant feature overlap, but it’s another tool that you might want in your home, however what’s interesting is what Sky is doing…
Sky are allowing non Sky TV subscribers to access Sky TV content over the web, through this device, and through Xbox. I hadn’t actually realised until now that the service is already available (over the web), for less than £1 per programme, it’s hidden away on Sky’s site for some reason. However I suspect this means that more Sky content will be made available in the UK like this (and since they don’t make their own content it means more US TV really).
So essentially what I’m interested in is what this means for the Xbox model, here’s what they say:
As with access to Sky Player via PC, Mac and, from later this year, Xbox, existing Sky TV customers will be able to access a range of content for no extra cost based on their core subscription, whilst non-Sky customers will be able to sign up to a choice of TV packages via a monthly subscription paid directly to Sky.
So there it is, there’s going to be a subscription model for accessing Sky TV, over the Internet. Looks like we’ll be seeing the same for Xbox and getting the added flexibility of pay-per-view (already offered on the web) for about £1. I might be wrong, but things are looking interesting for IPTV in the UK.
As yet, now word on pricing.