Sky 'looking at IPTV' for Picnic

Sky may employ television-over-DSL as part of its proposed Picnic pay-TV service, according to a report.

The broadcaster could use IPTV to deliver Sky channels to homes without changing its digital terrestrial operations, for which it is still awaiting permission from Ofcom.

The regulator has been considering Sky's proposals since the autumn. Under the plans, Sky's existing digital terrestrial channels - including Sky News and Sky Three - would be removed from Freeview.

Instead, it would broadcast three MPEG-2 streams carrying Sky Sports 1, Sky Movies, Sky One, a children's channel and a factual channel, at different times of the day. Sky also sought permission to move to the MPEG-4 compression standard, allowing it to add a 24-hour Sky News stream to Picnic.

Ofcom is expected to announce its decision early in the summer but a report in Broadcast yesterday suggested the service could go ahead without the DTT element.

Instead, video streams could be delivered to a DSL set-top box - likely to be a Freeview hybrid, as employed by BT Vision.

Sky has always intended to run the service as a "triple play" product with telephony, broadband internet and TV, under which it would operate subscribers' DSL connections.

If Ofcom does grant permission, Picnic may still employ DSL for additional services in the future.

Sky is in discussions with software partners on the plans, says the report.