BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) has finally signaled its intention to launch a proper VOD TV service. While Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) VOD views skyrocket and others join the Canvas IPTV VOD consortium, the Sky platform has languished with satellite technology unsuited to VOD – it can currently only leverage its consumers’ own PVR planning and the 50 percent of their PVRs to which it pushes its own show selections overnight.
But Sky HD boxes are equipped with Ethernet connections, allowing Sky to offer a hybrid service – satellite for live push TV, broadband for true pull VOD. Buoyed by announcing it added 243,000 more Sky HD boxes in the last nine months, now totaling 1.02 million, Sky quietly confirmed just such a plan in a press release Thursday afternoon. But no further details are available. Update:: Sky told paidContent:UK it will launch next year.
Also unclear – whether Sky would put its new service in with the Canvas system. If the BBC’s updated proposal is to be believed when it promises other pay-TV platforms the ability to charge subscriptions and micropayments, offer advertising and have their own branded areas of the Canvas UI, then Canvas offers Sky the prospect of a massively widened base of potential consumers. If all new TVs end up having the Canvas UI installed (plus a built-in HD), then Sky would have a ready-made gateway to the masses for its VOD content.