BSkyB Adding Sky Player VOD Service To Windows Media Centre

Continuing the “platform-agnostic” approach that will see Sky content go live on the XBox from next week, BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) has signed another VOD carriage deal with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). The latest deal will make BSkyB’s Sky Player VOD app a part of the Windows Media Centre multimedia playback software, which comes with Windows as standard. That means that PC users buying Windows 7 this month will have the player pre-loaded onto their computers, although the service, which allows on-demand and live streaming of Sky channels, isn’t live quite yet.

Sky is making use of Windows 7’s live TV tuner capabilities (explanation from MSFT here ) which supports HD viewing and recording.

Here’s a video of it in action, from Neowin

As Techradar reports, there is no specific launch date set for Sky Player on Windows, but the company says it will be live by the end of the year. Sky’s VOD director Griff Parry said last week that the XBox deal wouldn’t be the last of its kind — last week, the company also said Sky Player would be available on FetchTV IPTV boxes made by IPVision.

Of course, it’s not free to watch Sky Player on any platform, but subscribers don’t normally need a Sky TV subscription to sign up. XBox users will need a regular TV subscription. And each new customer counts as one more on the road to the company’s goal of 10 million by 2010.

We should get an update on how close it is to fulfilling that 10-million-subscriber ambition — and perhaps how plans are progressing for a genuine VOD TV service using Sky+ boxes’ ethernet connections — in Sky’s Q3 earnings announcement on Friday morning. Last time out, Sky appeared to be benefiting from the recession with a 26 percent rise in profits in H208 to £388 million.