Sky's online TV service - Sky Anytime PC - has gone through a major revamp today, with episodes of key Sky TV series available to download by anyone - it doesn't matter whether you are a Sky subscriber or not. The catch is that you'll have to pay £2 a pop to get episodes of 'premium' series like Lost, echoing the charges levied by Apple, which charges £1.89 on iTunes. The downloaded episode is yours to keep forever.
Sky says non-subscribers will also be able to download and keep 'non-premium' programmes for £1. You'll be able sign up to hundreds of Sky Sports clips and highlights, including those from Premier League matches, for just £5 per month.
Sky subscribers, of course, will still be able to get much of this content for free, thanks to Anytime PC's catch-up service. However Sky subscribers will also be able to pay for individual episodes - £1.50 a pop for 'premium' content, and £1 for other content.
Sky has changed the way that Anytime PC programme information is presented as well. You can now see it in any web browser, instead of having to download its proprietary media player first. This has the added advantage that you can now download programmes on on your home PC remotely - handy for when you're at work, in an internet café or anywhere.
What doesn't Anytime do?
The only people who are left out of Sky's plans are Mac and PC users who must be feeling pretty victimised by UK broadcasters by now. Neither the BBC's iPlayer or Channel 4's 4oD work with their operating system of choice.
However Sky says its remote download function does work on Macs, and also that it is working on a Mac version of its download player, although it hasn't said exactly when we'll see it.
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