BSkyB Announces Next Stage for Sky+

The Sky+ personal video recorder is set to evolve under new plans from BSkyB: they want to transform the PVR into a video and audio jukebox that subscribers can download films and music to.

Other plans include integrating five separate tuners – a move which will allow subscribers to record four channels simultaneously whilst watching a fifth.

Sky are also working on a technology that will allow Sky+ users to download content from their set top box to their portable video player so they can watch recorded programming whilst out an about.

Sky hopes to make £400 from each subscriber per year by the end of 2005. By building new functionality into their Sky+ product and then charging on a service by service basis, they should be able to earn significantly more revenue per customer, on top of the basic £15 subscription fee.

Since most domestic users are unlikely to ever want to record four separate programmes whilst watching a fifth, it seems to Digital Lifestyles that BSkyB will probably use this new capability to download films and programming to the PVR automatically, to a dedicated area of the hard disk. This will then allow Sky to promote the programming and offer it to to subscribers on an impulse buy, pay-per-view basis.

Media Guardian on Sky’s plans

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?