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Sky Player launches on Fetch TV

UK pay-TV provider BSkyB has taken a step into the hybrid digital-terrestrial pay-TV market with the launch of its online TV service Sky Player on the IP Vision Fetch TV platform, which combines the delivery of on-demand and linear content over the internet with Freeview broadcast channels.

Sky Player is now available on Fetch TV’s Freeview Plus DVR box, giving access to linear channels and on-demand to non-Sky subscribers, who will be able to sign up for a choice of TV packages via a monthly subscription.

At launch a number of movie services are missing from the Sky Player offer, but Sky expects to be able to add these imminently.

“This gives Freeview homes a way to sample and sign up to Sky TV, which previously they might not have thought about,” said Griff Parry, Sky’s director of on-demand, at a launch press conference. He said the user experience would be the same as for existing Sky customers.

Parry said Sky was looking at a range of ways to improve the quality of the Sky Player offering, where live channels are currently available in three different resolutions depending on the speed of broadband connection available. He said that the group was studying the possibility of deploying adaptive bit-rate encoding to match the quality with the available bandwidth automatically.

The WiFi-enabled DVR also gives access to BBC iPlayer services and to Fetch TV’s own content.

IP Vision plans to release an HD version of its box in June with a 320GB hard drive.