Sky TV Online Subscription Plans | IPTV and Video On Demand To Eschew Need For Dish

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To watch Sky TV in the UK has up to now meant buying a satellite dish and set-top box and then paying a monthly subscription. But Sky TV is now on its way to the Web.

Sky Television is a subscription-only service in the UK that allows viewers to have access to a multitude of channels as diverse as sports, music, documentary, entertainment, and film.

Satellite Dish and Set-Top Box Required

To receive any of the channels other than those available on Freeview or Freesat currently entails buying a dish, which has to be mounted on the wall of your house, a set-top box, either SD or HD, and a subscription package from Sky for the range of premium channels you want to watch.

This can be an expensive exercise and a drain on monthly outgoings, with channels being bought in bulk and Sky Sports and Sky Movies adding massively to the bill.

Sky Player

Sky currently offers the Sky Player, its version of the BBC iPlayer, to existing subscribers. This service allows subscribers, to either the TV or Broadband packages, access to a catch-up service of Sky programming.

BSkyB has now announced its intention to bring the Sky Player to the Internet, and make it available to people who don’t already subscribe to one of the company’s services.

A subscription will still be necessary but no additional equipment will be necessary other than a computer and broadband connection.

Channel Offerings

Sky Sports will be the first channel offered via this distribution method, due to most of the programming being Sky-owned and avoiding the age-old problem of rights management.

Sky’s movie channels and entertainment channels such as Sky 1 should follow in the months ahead but due to a high proportion of U.S. television programming, the broadcaster will have to reach deals with the copyright owners of the content.

Online TV Evolution

Mike Darcey, the BSkyB chief operating officer, told The Guardian that online TV has now evolved to a point at which Sky feels a broadband service will offer a good enough quality for viewers.

The launch of the service and pricing details have yet to be finalized but the expanded Sky Player is expected to be available in the next few months.

Multi-Platform Future

Sky has obviously realized the writing is on the wall for a purely set-top box based service and with the success of the BBC iPlayer and sites such as YouTube wants a piece of the multi-platform action.

This could eventually lead BSkyB to abandoning satellite broadcasting altogether in favor of IPTV and VOD but connection speeds and video quality still have a long way to go before that is likely.