Sky Anytime Plus adds video on demand service to Sky HD

Sky is set to launch a video on demand service called Sky Anytime Plus later in the year, the broadcaster has confirmed to Pocket-lint.

The new service, which will be available to all Sky HD subscribers free of charge, will offer over 500 movies and a hundreds of hours of programmes through the company's Sky HD box and electronic programming guide (EPG) interface.

However, there is a catch, users will have to switch to the company's Sky Broadband service to benefit from the new service.

"We hope to offer support for other ISP's in the future, but at launch the service will only be available to Sky Broadband customers", Kathryn Downward, Sky's head of TV services told Pocket-lint as the company showed the system off on a regular (non Sky broadband) connection.

Sky is hoping the service, which will go up against Virgin Media's on demand offering will give it the edge in luring customers to the platform when it launches later this year.

"There will be over 1000 hours of entertainment", boasts Downward (yes, we wanted her name to be Download too). "All movie houses are expected to be on board and we are talking to the [UK] terrestrial channels as well".

The service will offer users movies and shows in SD, rather than HD, but will allow them to watch the movies within around a 1 minute wait, with a full movie taking around 30-40 minutes to completely download.

Aping the Sky interface, users will be able to queue downloads to store on their set top boxes, view trailers and search the system for shows or movies to watch, as well as manage their downloads in terms of preference.

While the system will work with the current Sky HD box, thanks to an in-built Ethernet cable, users will have to buy a wireless box from Sky if they are hoping to go wire-free.

Sky says that the box, will come with a "minimal" cost and cutely looks like a miniature version of the Sky HD set-top offering.

The set-top box will allow downloads to be performed while the box is on standby, presumably overnight.

The new offering will hit all Sky HD boxes via an Over The Air (OTA) update later in the year. However, as Sky has said, the new service will only be accessible to Sky Broadband customers.

Currently that means opting for the company's £7.50 a month package for a up to 20MB line with an unlimited download quota - needed because you will quickly exceed any limits by watching movies, etc.

We will keep you posted.