Sky boxes have come fitted with Ethernet connections as standard for a while and Sky already offers broadband packages for subscribers. It all heralds the arrival of a full broadband-delivered on demand service in 2010.
Until then, we have the current piecemeal VoD offering, available free to all Sky+ subscribers. Essentially, what you get is 'push' on demand whereby shows are downloaded to your Sky+ overnight. Sky+ receivers have half their storage reserved for this purpose (equating to 80GB on a standard Sky+ or 160GB on Sky+ HD) and Sky+ HD subscribers get HD versions of films and shows where available. About 40 hours of programming is available at any one time.
Latest US imports
Shows are listed in a separate sortable menu in the Sky Guide with synopses and can be sorted A-Z or by genre.
They must be watched within a certain period (as indicated onscreen) after which they are automatically deleted. To keep them you can 'record' (e.g. transfer) them to the other half of your disc so they appear in your Personal Planner and can be treated just like any other Sky+ recording.
Adverts appear at the start of shows as standard but you can fast-forward through them.
The downside of Sky Anytime (unlike, say, Top Up TV's Anytime service) is you have no say in the type of programming you get. But to its credit Sky has worked hard to ensure a reasonable variety of programmes – films (from Sky Movies), documentaries, kids' stuff and usually the latest American imports are on tap, so there's always at least one addition worth watching.
A big bonus is that new episodes of some popular shows are made available before first broadcast. It's just a shame that, unlike the competition, there's nothing on offer from the five main channels. We hope this will be rectified when the full service launches.
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