Sky unveils vision of Networked Home

Sky+ HD to be networked in the home in 2012, according to Sky
Sky+ HD to be networked in the home in 2012, according to Sky

Sky has shown off its 'home of 2012', and made it clear that its set-top boxes will be soon be connected to the internet and networked throughout the home.

Although it was pointed out that the short film was a 'concept' and not a timeline, Sky's display of what it termed the Sky Networked Home wowed the IPTV World Forum.

Sky's satellite platform has never been suited to VOD, but with Director of OnDemand Griff Parry strongly reiterating that the broadcaster "considers itself platform agnostic", the move into set-top boxes that are linked up to a broadband connection seems obvious.

The film, being shown for the first time in public, showed a family with two computers and three televisions having their new Sky+ HD service installed.

The future according to Sky: "Today the Sky engineer is around to install their new Sky +HD service," the voiceover on the film states.

"Sky HD is quick and easy to set up, the engineer connects the Sky + HD box to a satellite dish and Sky Broadband.

"He makes sure all two are connected and operating and access to the internet and home network are set up."

This networked approach is the key to the Sky vision of the near-future it seems, with the connectivity offering the more extensive VOD that the company is keen to supply, without affecting the already hugely successful HD business.

Shared planners

Other things being shown off in the film included how multiple digiboxes throughout the house would allow access to a 'shared planner'.

"The engineer then installs additional digiboxes for the other TVs in the house. These are networked together. The whole family can now view all channels and access any shared content on any TV or PC," continued the film.

Individual profiles and customisable EPGs for each, as well as the ability to transfer recorded (or presumably on demand) programs to a mobile device were also showcased.

TechRadar asked Parry what kind of timeline had been set for connecting Sky's already Ethernet-ready HD boxes up to broadband.

"I should reiterate this isn't a timeline, just a concept at the moment," said Parry. "But we have been open in our desire to close the circle and provide this type of functionality."

The level of planning that had gone into the video – with well designed EPGs and customisation options, plus the increased push for Sky to sell its HD boxes, with a price drop to £50 recently, would suggest that the move to a Sky Networked Home will come sooner rather than later.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.