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Sky+HD customers to get improved ‘on-demand’ TV

Virgin VoD and iPlayer to face Sky Anytime+ rival

Sky Anytime+ EPG

Sky Anytime+ promises on-demand TV via broadband for Sky+HD customers

Satellite TV giant Sky has taken another step into the realm of on-demand TV with the launch of its new on-demand TV service, Sky Anytime+, rolling out from Tuesday 26 October to Sky+HD customers.

Sky Anytime+ is supplied over the internet and requires a broadband connection. It will be available only to Sky+HD customers who also have a Sky Broadband service. 

Sky Anytime+ will be rolled out to all Sky+HD boxes beginning from 26th October 2010. Most Sky HD boxes will be ready to receive the service by the end of the year with the remaining boxes to follow in a phased roll out during early 2011.

You can find out more about the best TV options, including free advice on HD TV, in the Which? TV buying guide. 

How much does Sky Anytime+ cost?

Sky says its Sky Anytime+ is available at no extra cost to Sky+HD customers who also have Sky Broadband and who live in a Sky network area. 

Sky+ customers without a Sky+HD box and subscription will continue to have access to the existing Sky Anytime service, which offers a limited selection of on-demand TV shows depending on your Sky TV subscription.

Once connected, Sky Anytime+ customers can download content from the library to their TV to watch whenever they like. For most customers, the content they download will be ready to start watching in less than a minute. 

Sky claims that the Sky Anytime+ user interface – an extension of the existing Sky+HD electronic programme guide (EPG) – is ‘intuitive and straightforward’.

What’s on Sky Anytime+?

Sky says its Anytime+ on-demand service will let you access a ‘virtual library of entertainment’. The content available to each customer will depend on their Sky TV subscription, but could potentially include more than 600 films, entire popular TV series, documentaries and arts shows. 

Content will include shows and films from Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Sky Arts and Sky 1 plus programming from a number of third party channels. Sky expects to build up the content in its on-demand library over the coming months. 

Which? digital TV expert Dave Holes says: ‘Sky Anytime+ is an interesting addition to the Sky+HD service that brings it closer the VoD service offered by rival Virgin Media’s cable network. 

‘But many standard Sky customers may be disappointed that Sky Anytime+ is only available to those subscribing to Sky’s HD service and not those who just take the standard definition Sky+ offering.’

Alternative on-demand TV services

If you’re not interested in Sky’s TV offering, there are a number of alternative ways to access on-demand TV. 

  • Sky’s main pay-TV rival, Virgin Media, already offers its own on-demand service. It includes ‘Catch-up TV’, which lets you watch shows from the last seven days on your TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV NetPlayer, 4oD and Virgin 1. Depending on your package you may also have access to TV Choice On Demand, which gives on-demand access to thousands of TV shows available on Virgin Media. 
  • BT Vision offers a range of on-demand services, which are available on either a subscription or pay-per-view basis.
  • BBC iPlayer, ITV NetPlayer, 4oD and Demand Five are all available online and let you catch up on a range of shows from their respective channels. Many shows are free to view, but you will need a broadband connection. 
  • From next year, YouView – the new video-on-demand venture from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT, Arquiva, Freeview and Freesat – is expected to launch. It will let you access programmes from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five on your TV set. The new service will be subscription free but you will need a new set-top box. 

If you resent being tied to the TV schedule, find out how to access on-demand TV online and what the future holds for on-demand TV with the free Which? guide to online TV

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