Sky has announced a deal that places Sky Player on set-top boxes made by IP Vision who's FetchTV hybrid DTT/IP STP has a built-in PVR, and offers BBC iPlayer, C 4 VOD, Sky Sports News, Discovery Channel and CNN. The box, called Freeview+ is priced at £219 (E237).
While not significant in volume terms, the deal marks the first additional platform deal beyond game players and comes as Sky may be softening its attitude to Canvas. VOD director Griff Parry told a Screen Digest seminar the company wasn't just sticking, defensively, to its core satellite platform: "What's happening is, Sky TV is becoming platform-agnostic. We see the opportunity of IPTV TV as exciting."
While repeating Sky's misgivings over the BBC's role in the broadband delivery project, Parry said he expected Canvas to be one of a number of content environments found on connected devices. "Canvas could be a great opportunity for Sky or Sky Player, so I've tried to make myself feel positive about it, but I need to feel confident that things like content discovery and UI work properly and you Canvas would be able to protect the security of our content."
Richard Halton, the BBC's director IPTV, said he understood the need to promote content in a consistent manner across all devices. "To be fair to Sky and as a content owner ourselves, a producer and provider of channels, we have very similar concernsâ€¦we have similar obligations to studios and rights holders, so we have a lot of interests in common."
Sky is planning to wire its own true pull-VOD features up to the Ethernet ports on the back of its own Sky HD boxes next year, but will now, clearly, be making third party deals along the way.