Sky adds streaming to online VOD service

Sky has overhauled its online video on demand service by adding streaming capabilities and rebranding it the "Sky Player".

Both the streaming function - billed as "progressive downloading" but analogous in user experience terms to the BBC's highly successful iPlayer streams - and the new name are designed to reposition the system in the growing online video marketplace.

Sky said: "The online service will take on the Sky Player brand in recognition of the public’s growing awareness of additional online video ‘player’ services."

In addition, Sky subscribers and non-subscribers will now both use the same Sky Player interface. Anytime on PC was previously only available to non-Sky customers via a separate website.

Sky Player offers subscribers content from channels including Sky One, Sky Arts, and The History Channel, along with premium movies and sports clips. Unlike the BBC's iPlayer, the service offers live streams of several Sky channels.

Sky TV customers have access to varying levels of content dependent on their level of subscription. Non-subscribers still have to pay to watch.

Griff Parry, the broadcaster's director of on demand, said: "Our leadership in the breadth and depth of content is being supported by improvements to the service’s functionality, such as live channels and instant play and watch.

"The renaming of the service helps provide our customers with a clearer understanding of what the service delivers, particularly in light of immediate content playback."

The player has also been redesigned and will be supported by a promotion campaign on Sky channels.

Sky's television based on demand service, Sky Anytime TV, will keep the same name. A new name for Anytime on Mobile will be announced shortly.