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Revealed: the next generation Sky+

'It's an open standard so anybody can join and work in it, and that is definitely the better way to go than the Microsoft or Apple "Do it our way or forget it" approach. The SVP is definitely a route towards the openness needed for true innovation. You won't see the operators blocking it; for them, the danger is that their innovation is going to be stalled by whatever Microsoft will allow them to have.'

Cinderella PCs

NDS also has plans for the humble PC that go far beyond today's Skyplayer. The entire Videoguard system, including your identity, can be securely stored on a special USB memory key or dongle, along with Gigabytes of memory for shows downloaded from your PVR.

'The problem with the PC is it just ain't secure. A lot of the content owners are not clear on having their content put on PCs. If you're going on an aeroplane, for example, you just stick the key into your STB, download content onto it and then stick the key in your laptop as you get onto the plane.

'The dongle also acts like a smart card for broadcasts, so if you've got a TV tuner like a Skystar card coming in, you plug in the USB key and get it unlocked. If you've got a movie and you're going round a friend's house, you can plug it into their STB or PC and watch the content even if they don't have the subscription.'

At home, the dongle also lets you connect directly with your PVR over whatever network is available, so a laptop becomes a multiroom receiver without extra boxes.

The first UK viewers to see these new functions are likely to be those with today's Sky HD box. These have high-speed processors and enough memory to resize and re-encrypt files for a portable player, or play across the network to your PC. Sky's probably already working on these features but, as we learned with the new HD EPG, there can be years of user-testing before Sky's happy to release them into the wild.