7 cool things to expect from Sky by 2012

From 3DTV to a slot on the Project Canvas platform

Sky s 3DTV is ready and waiting

Sky is one of the UK's most prominent broadcasters, with the company being held up as one of the most successful pay TV providers across the planet.

It's an emphasis on technology that has helped the company reach the heights, with the likes of digital broadcasts, the Sky+ PVR experience and a massive focus on HD making it one of the big innovators in viewing habits worldwide.

So TechRadar has taken a closer look at what Sky will be getting involved with in the coming years - many of these are already in development while others are still in the foetal stage.

1. Broadband to your set top box

Sky is already attempting to 'fill the hole' in its Video on Demand offerings that being chiefly a satellite-based broadcaster inevitably brings. This has seen the Sky Player become a key product for the company, providing existing customers AND interestingly, internet-only subscribers the chance to view its wares.

The next step for this will be to take that IPTV and put it through to your television, making the system as seamless as accessing something in your Sky+ library.

Sky showed off its vision of the future recently, and having all of its content available to view through a broadband connection is certainly part of it.

2. 3DTV

"Maybe the Olympics in 2012 will be a great time to showcase 3DTV in the home," said Sky recently.

The company has already shown the world's media its 3D concept – proving that it could use a regular Sky+ HD box to send stereoscopic images to the viewer, who would just need a 3D-enabled TV to view it.

With sport being so central to the Sky ethos, a showcase of clips of a boxing match that was shot live and in 3D as well as football and rugby (not to forget Gladiators), you can understand why the company is keen to show why it is ready for any forthcoming explosion of 3D televisions.

3. Sky Connected Home

Sky HD at the heart of thingsWith the arrival of a broadband connection in your home, expect to see a number of nifty tricks including a home network that will allow you to access centrally recorded content from anywhere around the house.

So, should your Match of the Day be interrupted, you can always pick it up where you left off in a completely different room, or not have to worry about which box you set recording your weekly dose of Top Gear.

Plus, you should be able to have your own media - such as pictures and audio files, available throughout your networked home.

4. Project Canvas

This is one part common sense and two parts guess-work, but TechRadar would suggest that Sky would leap at the chance to get on the new Project Canvas IPTV boxes if, and when, they arrive.

With Freeview the regulations never really worked in the company's favour – as indicated by the failure to get Picnic up and running – but the IPTV Canvas is a very different kettle of fish.

Sky is all about being 'platform agnostic' as its web-only subscription to the Sky Player has shown, so the chances of it plunking its channels on a Project Canvas box and asking for subs for footy is probably being offered at odds-on by Sky Bet.

5. Personalised EPG

Another stick on certainty is the arrival of personalised Electronic Programme Guides from Sky.

The company's vision is to have a simple graphical user interface for those who don't want complications, a kid's version that will make sure that the content is friendly and suitable, and a third version for the power user.

Expect all of the above to be fully customisable, so little Jenny (or Jack – whatever you like) can stick a High School Musical background on and make sure their friends' recommendations appear when they log in, which brings us neatly to...

6. Social networking tools

So your mate spots that episode of Greece Uncovered that he's certain that you can see his left foot it. In Sky's vision he would be able to ping you a recommendation that you tune in and then be able to point out that that's a 'woman's foot' and that his toes are hairier.

And of course, within the personalised environment, Sky could match your viewing habits and make popular suggestions, as well.

So should you be addicted to EastEnders, for instance, Sky's concept could spot this trend and point you to other dreary, pointless television.

7. Mobile content

Another insight into the Sky vision was the capacity to transfer programmes from your set top box (or home network) onto your mobile device to take away with you.

With people becoming au fait with portable media players and being able to watch content on the go.
Sky would like you to be able to transfer your movie to a portable device and watch it on the move.

The company conceded there would be rights issues but seemed happy that any hurdle could be leapt.

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