The excellent Sky Player service is coming to Internet-enabled TVs from UK manufacturer Cello and PVRs from 3view. Cello was the first manufacturer to integrate the BBC's iPlayer into its tellies last year, which caused much excitement.
Sky loves to keep up with the Joneses at Broadcasting House, and that's almost certainly one of the reasons it's launched its Web service on the same platform. 3view is another British firm that offers a Freeview PVR that -- surprise, surprise -- can also access iPlayer.
It's not much of a secret that we rather like Sky Player. While it's not perfect, Sky is constantly improving the channel line-up and we think it's a fantastic piece of technology with enormous potential. Sky Player is already available on a pretty decent number of devices, such as the Xbox360, and it's been integrated into Windows Media Player too, a feature we love.
It's also possible to access the service via a new piece of hardware from Fetch TV, which also offers access to iPlayer. Sky recently added a much broader selection of live TV channels, including its flagship Sky One. Two of its movie channels will arrive soon too.
Cello TVs are sold through Marks and Spencer. The company also offers PVRs with the same ability to access IPTV services, as well as record Freeview TV. What excites us is the news that these services are coming to more and more devices. Sony showed us its new range of TVs recently, many of which can access IPTV services, including iPlayer and streaming movies from LoveFilm. We have high hopes that Panasonic will add a similar range of video services to its VieraCast system too, which already offers videos from YouTube and DailyMotion at the moment, but no proper on-demand TV, as yet.
Sky has been very vocal about its distaste for the BBC's Internet strategy and the video on-demand service currently known as 'Project Canvas'. Just recently Sky's chief operating officer Mike Darcey wrote in The Guardian that the market "doesn't need Project Canvas".
Sky says it's against the BBC using public money to fund such a system and it doesn't like the idea of having a common interface imposed upon it. It's not really news that MurdochCorp isn't massively into the BBC, and it's clear from today's announcement that it's intent on pursuing its own IPTV strategy separate to the open system proposed under Project Canvas.
While we don't agree with Sky that the BBC's involvement is unnecessary, we are pleased it's doing something proactive about setting up services like these. We would respect it an awful lot less if it were sitting on the side-lines crying about how hard done-by it is, without making any effort to launch its own service.
Even so, our requirement is that we can watch channels from all broadcasters on our IPTV devices, and Project Canvas is still the best chance for that to happen. It's also worth noting that despite Sky's claims that the BBC doesn't need to be involved, it's largely putting its services on devices that were initially designed to play host to iPlayer.